Maryland May Profit from
Congressional Dems' Success|
By Alia Malik
Capital News Service
Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2006
WASHINGTON - Maryland's congressional delegation is likely to gain more
power from the Democratic takeover of Congress, giving the state
a corresponding increase in clout, analysts and delegation
Of the 10 representatives and senators in the state, eight
are Democrats, a group that includes Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, a
senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Rep.
Steny H. Hoyer, who is running for House Majority Leader.
Add Baltimore native and House speaker-in-waiting Nancy
Pelosi, D-Calif., to the list and Maryland should get its share
of attention from those in power come January, political
"I don't know that the difference is going to be a
day-and-night difference," said Laslo Boyd of Gonzales Boyd
Political Consulting. "I think it's going to be continuing to
build on the strength that the state already has."
Because Maryland has so many federal workers, the state has
always had a good relationship with the federal government, said
Paul Herrnson, director of the Center for American Politics and
Citizenship at the University of Maryland.
"Regardless of the delegation, we've always had a strong
presence," Herrnson said. "With the Democrats in control, they
will probably increase some programs and services and improve
the state's situation, especially with Hoyer and Mikulski."
Hoyer, of Mechanicsville, is running against Rep. John
Murtha, D-Pa., for majority leader, but no matter how high he
rises, he won't lose sight of Maryland, said Tim Schlittner,
Hoyer's Maryland press secretary .
"As majority leader, Mr. Hoyer will continue to use his
standing in Congress to support federal employees, protect the
Chesapeake Bay, and bring economic development to Maryland,"
Schlittner said in a written statement.
With the retirement of Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes, Mikulski, the
most senior woman in the Senate, is now leader of the Maryland
congressional delegation. She is also likely to become
chairwoman of the two subcommittees on which she is ranking
member: the Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice,
Science and Related Agencies and the Health, Education, Labor
and Pensions Committee's Subcommittee on Retirement Security and
"We're going to focus our individual power to fight for
Maryland," Mikulski said, promising to help coordinate the Base
Realignment and Closure plan, which will bring an influx of new
people and jobs to the state as military bases are reorganized.
She also listed increased homeland security funding for the
Washington metropolitan area among her priorities.
Hoyer and Mikulski aren't the only Democrats on the
post-electoral rise. Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Kensington, played
a central role in national party recruitment and campaigning and
is expected to move up the ranks.
Van Hollen, who served as a deputy to outgoing Democratic
Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill.,
has been mentioned as Emanuel's possible successor, The Hill
reported Tuesday. But in an interview with Capital News Service,
he said he had not made up his mind.
"Right now, I'm looking at all the options," he said.
Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D-Baltimore, is interested in
joining the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, which
writes tax and entitlement program legislation, a spokeswoman
said. If he doesn't join that exclusive committee, he is in line
to head the Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources
Subcommittee of the Government Reform Committee.
Rep. C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Cockeysville, has his eye
on the prestigious Appropriations Committee, which writes
spending bills, said spokeswoman Heather Molino. He would also
like to keep his seats on the Government Reform and Intelligence
Rep. Albert Wynn, D-Largo, will play more of a leadership
role on the Energy and Commerce Committee, affecting issues like
energy security, global warming, cable competition and
affordable health care and prescription drugs, said spokesman
The increases for the Democrats come at a cost to Maryland's
Rep. Roscoe Bartlett of Frederick will lose chairmanship of
the Armed Services Committee's Projection Forces Subcommittee
and will give up his post as vice chairman of the Small Business
Rep. Wayne Gilchrest of Kennedyville will no longer be
chairman of the Resource Committee's Fisheries and Oceans
Subcommittee. Yet Bartlett and Gilchrest, who are entering their
eighth and ninth terms respectively, will still have the power
Although Pelosi recently endorsed Murtha over Hoyer for
majority leader, the former Baltimore mayor's daughter will pay
attention to Maryland issues as speaker of the House, spokesman
Drew Hammill said.
"I think she's always been sensitive to them," he said. "I
mean, it's her home state. She's always had a very special
relationship with the city of Baltimore and with the whole
Besides helping Maryland manage Base Realignment and Closure,
the increased power of the state's Democrats could mean
increased funding and support for state-oriented issues like
increasing port security and building on investments in
biotechnology, including stem-cell research, Boyd said.
Van Hollen repeated Hoyer's plan to support federal workers
and added transportation and environmental issues to the list.
Although Van Hollen worked closely with Pelosi to recruit
many of this cycle's candidates, he endorsed Hoyer for majority
leader, citing the whip's strength as a consensus-builder.
That won't hurt his relationship with the speaker, he said.
"I'm a big fan of Nancy Pelosi's, and I'm going to continue to
work with her," he said.
Van Hollen cautiously predicted Hoyer would win the
"It's not over 'til it's over," he said. "Only Thursday will
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