HARTFORD - U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro was elected chair of the House Appropriations Committee by fellow Democrats on Thursday, a position colleagues say will make her the most powerful Connecticut politician in Washington in generations.
House Democrats voted 148-79 in favor of DeLauro, 77, over Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, of Florida. DeLauro, a 30-year member of the House, will succeed retiring Rep. Nita Lowey, of New York, in January.
DeLauro - who represents the 3rd Congressional District, which includes New Haven and part of Waterbury - will lead a panel that controls around $1.4 trillion in spending, a hefty chunk of the federal budget.
U.S. Rep. John Larson, also a member of the Connecticut delegation, called DeLauro’s election historic for the state.
“Not since Jonathan Trumbull was elected Speaker of the House (in 1791) has Connecticut held such an important position in the United States Congress,” the East Hartford Democrat said. Trumbull served as the second speaker of the House from 1791 to 1793 and later became governor of Connecticut.
DeLauro said Thursday that being elected chair is one of the greatest honors of her life.
“It is a unique time,” she said in a statement. “We are in the middle of a health and economic crisis that must be addressed, communities of color face systemic racism, and we welcome a President with a mandate for change, yet we may still face gridlock. As House Appropriations Chair, I am prepared to deliver the boldest progress possible for Connecticut and families across the country in the next Congress.”
New England Democrats will have major influence in the next House, with Rep. Richard Neal, of Massachusetts, chairing the Ways and Means Committee and Rep. James McGovern, also of Massachusetts, leading the Rules Committee.
“Working families across the country will have a true champion ensuring that their voices are heard over the special interests, and that they have a seat at the table as we all work together with President-elect Biden and his administration to build back better from this pandemic,” Gov. Ned Lamont, also a Democrat, said in a written statement.