New Mexico’s U.S. House members have been seated on high-profile committees that are wading quickly into new waters with a new GOP majority.
The state has an entirely Democratic congressional delegation and everyone is starting their first or second term in Congress. With control of the House flipping in favor of Republicans in the most recent election, the three representatives are in the minority for the first time in their young congressional careers.
Rep. Melanie Stansbury, D-N.M., was seated on the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, which, on Wednesday, will hold a hearing to scrutinize how federal tax dollars were spent during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stansbury’s office said in a news release that she intends to attend Wednesday’s hearing to argue pandemic spending saved lives, and she accused her Republican colleagues on the panel of focusing “on MAGA conspiracy theories and concocted scandals designed to distract from their extreme agenda.”
In the past month, the committee chairman, Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., has called publicly for more information on “anonymous Chinese donations” to the University of Pennsylvania – classified documents from President Joe Biden’s term as vice president were found in his office at a think tank affiliated with the university; whether homeless people or undocumented immigrants were cleared from an area before a photograph was taken of Biden in El Paso, Texas; and Hunter Biden’s art transactions.
In addition to that position, Stansbury will also have a spot on the House Committee on Natural Resources. She is beginning her second term in Congress.
Meanwhile, Rep. Teresa Leger Fernández, D-N.M., will have a seat on the House Rules committee. Debate over which GOP members would have a seat on that influential committee was part of the reason it took House members repeated attempts to elect Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.
The committee has nine Republican members and four Democrats, who will decide the order and rules in which bills are debated and voted on.
“This is an opportunity for us in the minority to fight for what matters: Lower health care costs, good-paying jobs, and prosperity and hope for a better future,” Leger Fernández said in a statement.
Leger Fernández, who is also beginning her second term, will also be the ranking member on the House Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States.
First-term Rep. Gabe Vasquez, D-N.M., was seated on the Agricultural and House Armed Services committees.
“New Mexico plays a unique and vital role in our nation’s national security – from the groundbreaking research produced at our two national labs, to the most expansive missile-testing range in the nation at White Sands, to the critical training grounds at Holloman Air Force Base,” he said in a statement. “To strengthen the security of our district is to strengthen the security of our nation.”