As control of the House of Representatives changes hands, the committee chairs will soon be filled by Republicans — and some of them are from Texas.
These Texas lawmakers will have an outsized say on critical issues like aid to Ukraine, competition with China, and the federal budget.
The probe into the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan is something Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said the country owes it to the veterans. That’s why he plans to hold hearings on it.
“The veterans want answers about what happened, they want accountability. It was a total fiasco,” McCaul told Spectrum News in an interview at his Capitol Hill office. “We projected weakness. I think if you go back to Chamberlain and Hitler and World War II, weakness invites aggression. Reagan spoke of peace through strength. And Afghanistan was a turning point in our foreign policy.”
After winning his 10th term in Congress last week, McCaul is poised to become the first Texan to ever chair the House Foreign Affairs Committee when Republicans retake the House in January.
“I will have a gavel, I will have subpoena powers, and I will be able to get documents related to what happened in Afghanistan. We will look at Hunter Biden’s laptop situation with China. I think you’re going to see a more aggressive oversight campaign that you haven’t seen since this president took office,” McCaul said.
Republicans have already vowed to review US aid flows to Ukraine. McCaul said there will be no “blank checks” and that it is important that Ukraine get out of the war because he doesn’t want to see American troops in the country.
“We will take on that oversight and accountability for arms shipments and foreign aid to Ukraine. We will also get our NATO allies to step up their game. I mean, it’s in their backyard, and they should shoulder the burden of the cost of this fight,” he said.
McCaul also said he wants to take a close look at US technology flowing overseas.
“China has a hypersonic missile that can precisely orbit the Earth and carry a nuclear payload, and it’s built on the backbone of American technology,” he said. “What they don’t steal, we sell them, and I think we need to stop that.”
Democrats will retain control of the Senate, and most foreign policy-related legislation will require Democrat support and approval from President Joe Biden. McCaul said the Foreign Affairs Committee has a history of bipartisanship.
“We always say that partisanship ends at the water. So when we travel as a delegation, we’re not Democrats, we’re not Republicans, we’re Americans abroad, and we’re trying to stay united,” he said. “At the end of the day, we want the United States to be strong and we want the United States to win.”
Meanwhile, another Texan who is currently the top Republican on the powerful House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, is hoping to get the gavel as chair in the next Congress.
In a statement to Spectrum News, her office said: “If elected as Chair, her priorities will be cutting wasteful government spending; to hold the Biden administration to account with close oversight; and to focus our limited resources on national security, which includes securing the border and investing in our military.”
Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, is vying for the chair of the House Homeland Security Committee. If selected, the Houston Republican would help lead congressional oversight of the border, cybersecurity and disaster relief through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
This week, Crenshaw introduced legislation that would crack down on cartels, in part by increasing criminal penalties and targeting finance.
“We need to take the cartels seriously and deter them and target them, just like we do terrorists. It’s the only way to win,” Crenshaw said in a press release.