Underwood will chair the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, & Innovation
Congresswoman Lauren Underwood was named the Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, & Innovation on the House Homeland Security Committee, replacing Congressman Cedric Richmond (D, LA-02) who was reassigned from Homeland Security. The announcement was made by Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson (D, MS-02).
The Homeland Security Committee has a total of 31 members. As the Subcommittee chair, Underwood leads 9 of the members on one of the six subcommittees of Homeland Security.
The Subcommittee’s 9 members includes 5 Democrats and 4 Republicans, with Congressman John Katko (R, NY-24) the Subcommittee’s ranking member.
From Congresswoman Underwood’s press release:
“Our nation faces homeland security threats that endanger not only the lives of Americans, but the foundation of the democracy we hold dear. As Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Innovation, I look forward to advancing legislation that makes us safer—whether that means securing our elections against foreign interference and cyberattacks, or protecting our schools and houses of worship from targeted violence—and conducting oversight of the Administration to ensure the job gets done.”Lauren Underwood, 9/25/20
Homeland Security Chairman Thompson added:
“It is my incredible honor to have Congresswoman Underwood serve as Chair of the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Innovation. She has served admirably as the Vice Chair of the Committee and I know she is ready to confront the multifaceted issues facing our nation. I look forward to continuing our work together to secure our elections, protect our homeland, and conduct critical oversight of this Administration.”Bennie Thompson, 9/25/20
Underwood will continue to serve as vice chairwoman of the full Homeland Security Committee.
OBSERVATION: While there was a rotation of members in late summer into and out of the Homeland Security Committee, this is a genuine “promotion” for Underwood. While her role as vice chairwoman of the entire committee was seen as ceremonial, chairing a subcommittee is more substantial.
Underwood is set up for success given the ranking member, John Katko, is someone whom Underwood has worked with before on legislation, particularly, H.R. 3526, the Counter Terrorist Network Act which passed the full House by voice vote nearly a year ago, and awaiting action in the Senate.
While Underwood’s elevation to a subcommittee chair was out of necessity, one cannot see the timing, within 40 days of the November election, to coincide with Underwood’s reelection campaign as well as prepare her for the usually vigorous Chicago Tribune editorial endorsement interview.
Underwood, along with Congresswoman Xochitl Torres Small (D, NM-02) and Congressman Max Rose (D, NY-11), is one of three first term committee members elevated to chair a subcommittee. Both Torres Small and Rose face tough fights for reelection, and this promotion would betray the contest between Underwood and Republican Jim Oberweis is not settled, either.
Put another way, the 14th congressional district race is closer than one might think. It’s not uncommon to put freshmen lawmakers into subcommittee chairmanships to help pad an incumbent’s resume’.
While the results of the election will determine Underwood’s continued service in this new role, both her winning reelection and/or the Democrats maintaining control of the House, congratulations are in order for Underwood for being named to a position of leadership with substance as a subcommittee chair.