GOP Control of Congress Weakens NY Influence

The Republican takeover of the House of Representatives will mean a "vast decline in the influence of New York" congress members, says Rutgers University political science professor Ross Baker.

The 29-member delegation will lose chairmanships of three full committees: Small Business (Nydia Valezquez of the Lower East Side), Oversight and Investigations (Ed Towns of Brooklyn) and Rules (Louise Slaughter from upstate).

Several more New York Congressional representatives will lose the chairmanships of subcommittees.

Losing a chairmanship is, for a congress member, a dramatic adjustment, said Baker.

"In the House of Representatives, when you move from being the chairman of a committee to being a ranking member, that's a vast demotion, because the House is ruled so relentlessly by the majority party," he said.

Likely to gain a committee chairmanship is Peter King, a Long Island Republican who once lead the Homeland Security Committee.

Other key assets New York will lose are the "cardinals" or chairmen of subcommittees that draft portions of the appropriations bill. Currently, New York has two cardinals: Jose Serrano of the Bronx, chairman of the subcommittee on financial services; and Nita Lowey of Westchester, who chairs the subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations.

"We have fewer people in strategic positions," Manhattan Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY8) said in an interview.

New York's delegation will go from 27 Democrats and just two Republicans, to 22 Democrats and 7 Republicans. While New York will benefit by having seven members in the majority, Nadler noted that most of them won't have seniority, and therefore, won't be able to guide their respective conference greatly.