Anna Eshoo wants top spot on Energy & Commerce

A Silicon Valley congresswoman is making a play to become ranking member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, even though other Democrats of more or equal seniority might want the job too.

And though Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, probably feared little in seeking re-election a twelfth term this year, her Republican opponent announced Sunday that she’s dropping out of the race.

Eshoo issued a news release Monday noting Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Los Angeles, now the ranking Democrat on Energy and Commerce, announced last week that he’ll retire at the end of this year after 40 years in Congress.

“Since then I have received the encouragement of members of the Committee and the Caucus to seek this position,” Eshoo said. “Today, I am announcing my decision to seek the top slot at Energy and Commerce. I do so with great enthusiasm because it is the ‘Committee of the Future’ and the most dynamic by its jurisdictions. It is key to shaping America’s future, just as my Silicon Valley congressional district is.”

Eshoo, 71, said she’ll be talking with colleagues in coming weeks “to share my vision and hear theirs.”

“We have the depth and the talent to shape policies that will build a strong economy for every American, with an innovative and entrepreneurial approach to advanced research, communications, technology, health care, energy and the environment,” she said. “It is because of this far-reaching opportunity to put America in the best position to compete globally I seek this position.”

But another Energy and Commerce Committee member – Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich. – has been in Congress since 1955 and has chaired the panel before. Now 87, Dingell lost the chairmanship to Waxman in a Democratic caucus vote. Already the longest-serving congressman in U.S. history, he hasn’t said yet whether he’s running for a 31st term in 2014 and wants the chairmanship back.

Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J. – who like Eshoo was elected to the House in 1992 – definitely wants the post as well.

“For over 20 years, I have remained deeply committed to advancing the goals of our great committee on which I have had the honor of serving as the chair or ranking member of three of our six subcommittees,” Pallone said in a news release issued Monday. “As the person tasked with developing the Democratic Caucus’ message on the House Floor, I believe I would be the most effective voice to lead the committee toward a successful future.”

Pallone is playing up his bipartisanship. The committee “will be as active as it has ever been as we address some of the nation’s most pressing issues, which is why having a leader with strong relationships on both sides of the aisle will be crucial to moving forward a meaningful agenda that will improve the health, safety and prosperity of Americans,” he said. “Even in the often divided climate of the last several years, I have worked to find common ground with my colleagues to get things done because I believe that our government can still do good things that will help Americans and make our nation even stronger.

Meanwhile, Wilson Farrar, a Republican from Portola Valley who has been campaigning to unseat Eshoo, sent an e-mail to supporters Sunday announcing that “something quite wonderful precludes me from continuing my campaign for a seat in the U. S. House of Representatives. It is with happiness and some regret that I have chosen to pursue another path.”

FarrarShe thanked supporters for their “kindness, encouragement, enthusiasm, and philosophical support, which I will treasure always. Truth, Liberty, Justice. Go get ‘em! My heart and spirit are with you!”

Farrar said all campaign contributions will be returned. A report filed to the Federal Election Commission last week showed Farrar raised $1,615 in 2013’s quarter, leaving her campaign with $2,670 cash on hand but a $2,000 debt – money she loaned the campaign from her own pocket.

Eshoo raised almost $178,000 in 2013’s final quarter, leaving her campaign with about $494,700 cash on hand and about $3,276 in debts at the year’s end. No other candidates have raised any money in the 18th Congressional District.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Elwood

    Obamacare to cut work hours by equivalent of 2 million jobs: CBO

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President
    Barack Obama’s healthcare law will reduce the American workforce by the
    equivalent of 2 million full-time workers in 2017, the Congressional
    Budget Office said on Tuesday, prompting Republicans to paint the law as
    bad medicine for the U.S. economy.

    In its latest U.S. fiscal outlook, the nonpartisan CBO said the health
    law would lead some workers, particularly those with lower incomes, to
    limit their hours to avoid losing federal subsidies that Obamacare
    provides to help pay for health insurance and other healthcare costs.”


    Oh, goody! Just what we need! Another disincentive to work. Gotta love that Obamacare. The more you learn about it, the better it gets!

  • http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2014/02/05/cbo-director-obamacare-will-reduce-unemployment/

    Under questioning today before the House Budget Committee from Dem Rep. Chris Van Hollen, CBO director Douglas Elmendorf confirmed that in reality, his report suggests Obamacare will reduce unemployment.

    The CBO report found that Obamacare — through subsidizing health coverage – would reduce the amount of hours workers choose to work, to the equivalent of 2.5 million full-time workers over 10 years. This was widely spun by Republicans as a loss of 2.5 million jobs.

    To counter this, Van Hollen cited the report’s findings on Obamacare’s impact on labor demand, rather than supply. On page 124, the report estimates that the ACA will “boost overall demand for goods and services over the next few years because the people who will benefit from the expansion of Medicaid and from access to the exchange subsidies are predominantly in lower-income households and thus are likely to spend a considerable fraction of their additional resources on goods and services.” This, the report says, “will in turn boost demand for labor over the next few years.”

    “When you boost demand for labor in this kind of economy, you actually reduce the unemployment rate, because those people who are looking for work can find more work, right?” Van Hollen asked Elmendorf.

    “Yes, that’s right,” Elmendorf said.

    Elmendorf added that the factor Van Hollen had identified was something CBO thinks “spurs employment and would reduce unemployment over the next few years.”

  • Elwood

    I love the dimmiecrats’ attempts to spin this report.

    “It’s not really a **** in the punchbowl, it’s an unidentified floating object.”

  • That’s not Democratic spin. That’s the testimony of the report’s author.

  • JohnW

    The media did a p*** poor job of reporting on the CBO report. The initial headlines were that CBO predicted 2.4 million jobs would be lost due to Obamacare. I can’t recall the last time I saw such careless reporting.

    No person with a half-decent job would quit because of Obamacare. So who would quit or reduce work due to Obamacare?

    Low wage workers whose wages from a few extra hours of work would be offset by a reduced premium subsidy. That’s a glitch in the way the law determines eligibility for premium subsidies. They can easily fix that.

    “Job lock.” Somebody who doesn’t like their job and wants to look for something else or even start their own business but who, pre-Obamacare, was afraid to make the move for fear of losing access to health coverage — especially if they had a pre-existing condition. For years, conservatives have advocated de-coupling health care from employment and making insurance portable. Obamacare does that.

    Early retirees. They may have a pension or other sources of income and decide to retire at, say, 62. They no longer have to stick it out until 65 just to get health care. They retire and make room for younger workers. Is that a bad thing? Not in my book.

  • Elwood

    That reminds me of what Harry Truman said: “What I need is a one armed economist, because the ones I have keep saying ‘on the other hand’.”