Columbia, SC — In the Realpolitik world of Washington, seniority matters. Congressional committee positions and, perhaps more importantly, committee chairpersons, usually are determined by seniority.
According to the Congressional Research Service, the 113th House of Representatives has an average tenure of 9.8 years, with 54 percent of the membership serving less than eight years. This means new congressmen will be relegated to junior positions on minor committees. Conversely, congressmen with seniority will be assigned to major committees and be eligible for leadership roles.
Seniority is particularly relevant to committees dealing with federal budget allocations. For South Carolina, federal spending in 2009 amounted to almost 30 percent of the state’s GDP, exceeding $46.9 billion.
In the 1st Congressional District, former U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford has three terms of congressional experience. This will help him reestablish his proven conservative credentials, directly influence important fiscal policy and monitor government spending.
David W. Warner