Some Democrats want new leadership on the House Oversight panel, according to sources, as Republicans take over with subpoena power and a newfound ability to make the Obama administration's collective life miserable.
A movement is brewing to push aside current Chairman Ed Towns, the Brooklyn Democrat who has led the committee for the past two years, according to congressional aides, though it is unclear from these rumblings whether or not Towns's position is in any serious jeopardy.
"I think a lot of people are thinking it's a good idea to look beyond Towns for ranking member," one senior Democratic aide told me.
There is near-unanimous realization that Towns "isn't the guy to be ranking member," said one aide familiar with the committee.
With Democrats in the minority next year, the apparent concern is that the party needs a stronger presence atop the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to hit back at incoming GOP Chairman Darrell Issa, should he go on an anti-Obama-administration witch-hunt. (The Oversight Committee is the main congressional body responsible for overseeing the administration. As Democratic chairman under President Bush, Rep. Henry Waxman repeatedly subpoenaed the Republican administration for documents and personal testimony.) Issa will have twice the staff and resources as whoever serves as ranking member, though he has signaled that witch-hunts aren't his style, Issa being purportedly more interested in transparency measures.