|CONGRESS|East Bay’s newest Congressman, Eric Swalwell, who recently beat out senior Democrat, Pete Stark, this past Fall, was assigned to the Homeland Security Committee by House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi, adding an additional committee assignment to the young Congressman after having worked his way onto the House’s Science, Space and Technology Committee.
The Congressman announced his assignment via his new Twitter account, RepSwalwell, yesterday and noted his honor to serve with new chairman of the Homeland Security, Michael McCaul who previously served as chairman of the Homeland’s subcommittee; Management, Investigations and Oversight. McCaul is a Republican from Texas and Swalwell’s honorary tweet towards the congressman is likely Swalwell’s continued attempts to “reach across the aisle,” as he so commonly campaigned on this past election season. Also this common strategy was used to help court Republicans to vote for him this past Fall, a strategy that saw enough success to help beat out liberal Stark.
Swalwell further issued this statement, released on his new Congressional website, “From protecting ports like San Francisco, to keeping the Internet secure, to safeguarding mass transit such as BART, the House Committee on Homeland Security plays a vital role in making sure the American homeland is safe,” said Swalwell.
“I look forward to serving on that committee in the 113th Congress. I want to thank Leader Pelosi, Steering and Policy Co-Chairs DeLauro and Andrews, and the entire Democratic Steering and Policy Committee for this tremendous opportunity.”
Homeland Security Committee deals in immigration and national security issues that coincide with foreign policy. Swalwell campaigned on continued American hegemony and solid support for America’s counter terrorism activities at home and abroad. He also believes countries like Iran to be a grave threat to America. The Citizen has described Swalwell before as being lock step with President Barack Obama’s foreign policy when concerning American intervention and active participation in foreign influence. It should be expected that Swalwell’s votes on the committee will be reflective of this.
The committee’s participation in immigration issues also highlights Swalwell’s recent foray into the immigration debate which has witnessed some revitalization in the past few weeks despite it being a largely untouched issue by President Obama. The immigration issue was not something that Swalwell focused on much during his own campaign making his recent focus on the issue an unexpected change from his usual energy and transportation focus.
For the new chairman, McCaul, said that border security will be his number 2 priority after dealing with Hezbollah and al Qaeda.
Swalwell's participation on a committee deals with highly controversial issues that peaceniks have found themselves at odds with. Republicans, who control the committee, have advocated to keep Guantanamo Bay open and issued their support for wars abroad will provide an interesting and solidly challenging obstacle for Swalwell to traverse. On one hand the Congressman supports Obama's nuanced foreign policy efforts, that do not stray far from Republicans own focus on American hegemony, while on the other hand Swalwell must deal with a radical Republican bloc on an influential committee while keeping Republican constituents in mind that had helped him win his seat this Fall.
Some of that Republican radicalism was shown by Peter King, the former Chairman of the Homeland Security, who brought attention to the committee after his controversial speech about "home grown radical Islam," that was slammed by hundreds of religious leaders and Democrats for being "Islamphobic". McCaul supported King's speech which notes that McCaul will likely carry on King's hard line racial opposition to Muslims.
Socially, Swalwell will vote Democratic and on foreign issues Swalwell will vote for whatever Obama wants done but what will be more important will be how Swalwell vocalizes those positions while surrounded by radical Republicans on a controversial committee.
Swalwell is already on the Science, Space and Technology Committee although he had voiced interest for the Transportation Committee which his idol, Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher, formerly served on. Instead Swalwell will likely pursue his campaign’s central theme on energy through the Science Committee.