Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., is in line to take over as chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the key panel handling federal benefits and workplace issues in the House, when the current chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, leaves Congress at the end of the month.
Chaffetz originally had said only that he would not seek re-election to Congress next year but more recently announced he would leave June 30; there is speculation he will run for governor.
As chairman, Chaffetz set a more bipartisan tone than did his predecessor, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif. Ranking Democrat Elijah Cummings of Maryland–who sometimes clashed openly with Issa–praised Chaffetz as “establishing a new and productive working relationship among our members and staff.”
The panel under Chaffetz worked in a bipartisan way on issues including the response to the OPM database breaches revealed in 2015 and in passing out of the committee a postal reform bill. He and Cummings also cooperated on many informational inquiries to agencies although there remained a partisan tone to some of the committee’s other oversight work during the Obama administration, and Cummings has been critical of what he considers reluctance to do the same with the Trump administration.
Gowdy does not have a well established track record on federal employment issues; he is best known nationally for having led a special investigation into the 2012 deaths of the ambassador and three other Americans in the attacks on U.S. facilities Benghazi, Libya.