Tlaib, Ocasio-Cortez Get Seats on House Oversight Committee

Patrick Goodenough | January 22, 2019 | 10:45pm EST
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Freshmen Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. (Photo: Tlaib/Twitter)

( – Two of the most high-profile – and controversial – congressional freshmen, Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), have been handed seats on the main investigative committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Committee on Oversight and Reform.

Fellow “progressives,” Reps. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) have also secured posts on the committee chaired by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced.

Early Oversight Committee hearings will deal with matters including legislation which, among other things, will require presidential candidates to disclose their tax returns. A February 7 hearing will feature testimony from President Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who is shortly to begin a three-year jail term after being convicted of offenses arising from payoffs to women with whom Trump had extra-marital affairs.

Tlaib, a Palestinian American, is one of the first two Muslim women to be elected to the U.S. Congress, and has stoked considerable controversy in her short time on Capitol Hill. (The other, Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, has herself raised eyebrows with some of her views, and has been handed a seat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.)

Tlaib’s use of a vulgar expletive to describe the president – in a comment about impeaching him – brought her notoriety in some quarters, and fans in others.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., talks to fellow members of Congress during the first session of the 116th Congress on January 3, 2019. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Ocasio-Cortez, similarly, has been praised and criticized for her outspoken views – including a “Green New Deal” which has been described variously as “fiscal fantasy,” a “Trojan horse for socialism,” and “the smartest, most practical idea in U.S. politics to address two urgent problems: climate change and poverty.”

Most recently, her comment that “the world is gonna end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change” sparked mockery, even as defenders rushed to explain what she really meant.

The youngest woman ever elected to the U.S. Congress at the age of 29, she enjoys a high profile on social media.

News of her committee assignment came shortly after reports that three-quarters of Democrats polled would “consider” voting for Ocasio-Cortez for president if she was old enough to run. Under Article 2 of the United States Constitution, a president must be 35 years-old when taking office.

On Fox News’ The Five on Tuesday, co-host Dana Perino described Ocasio-Cortez as “the intellectual leader of the left – and the polls are backing that up.”

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