San Diego Union Tribune

July 1, 2006

Bilbray wins assignment to three House committees


WASHINGTON – Recently elected Rep. Brian Bilbray, R-Carlsbad, has won assignments to two committees important to his North County district and one that could be dealing with some touchy issues.

Recently elected to the seat vacated by imprisoned former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, Bilbray will serve on the House Armed Services and Veterans Affairs committees, which deal with issues vital to all of San Diego County and particularly his district with its large population of active duty and retired military personnel and their family members.


He also will serve on the House Government Reform Committee, which handles legislation on criminal justice, drug policy, energy and resources, the federal work force and government management.

Because he served six years in the House in another district before being defeated by Rep. Susan Davis, D-San Diego, in 2000, Bilbray will enjoy seniority over many of the newer members of those panels.

Bilbray's seat on the Armed Services panel was made possible by the agreement of Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, to take an immediate leave of absence from the committee.

According to the Congressional Quarterly publication, McKeon told House Republican leaders he planned to leave the Armed Services Committee because of time pressure. McKeon also serves on the House Education and Workforce Committee. The leadership persuaded him to take the leave of absence now to allow Bilbray to join a committee that could help him in what is likely to be a hotly contested campaign to win a full two-year term in November.

Bilbray won a relatively narrow victory in a June 6 special election to fill the seat vacated by Cunningham, now serving a federal prison term for taking millions of dollars from defense contractors in exchange for directing federal funds to them.

By taking a leave from the committee, instead of resigning his seat, McKeon will retain his seniority on the panel if he chooses to return in the next Congress.