The new Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington will face a number of challenges this year. Economic unknowns include the threat of a debt ceiling crisis and questions around regulating cryptocurrencies. Debates over persistent inflation, abortion, gun violence and threats to democracy will also punctuate the next two years.
Bloomberg has identified 10 lawmakers to watch, based on their legislative track records and areas of expertise, as well as their ability to get things done.
One Texan made the list, but it might not be the person you expect: Rep. Kay Granger, a Republican who represents part of the Fort Worth area, is the chair of the House Appropriations Committee and will be under pressure to cut domestic spending and fund projects like the southern border wall.
“We wanted to pick 10 lawmakers who reflected the spectrum of political and geographic diversity on Capitol Hill,” said Megan Scully, Bloomberg’s Congress editor. “We wanted to really select people who were not household names, the kind of lawmakers who we speak to on a regular basis but might not be engaged in Twitter wars, might not be making daily headlines. The people who kind of put their nose to the grindstone and get things done on Capitol Hill.”
Scully said it was clear to the team compiling the list early on that Granger would be included. With her role on the Appropriations Committee, Scully said, Granger will be at the forefront of battles over government spending and keeping the lights on for the government.
Granger’s district is home to a number of government contractors, namely employees working in major North Texas facilities for top defense contractor Lockheed Martin, the maker of the F-35 warplane, and Bell Textron, a key supplier of helicopters.
Scully said Granger also has a track record of bipartisan legislating.
“She has been known to really reach across the aisle and work with Democrats to get government spending legislation done,” Scully said. “She did hit a bit of a bump with the omnibus legislation that was just passed, and with the continuing resolution that was just a stopgap spending measure, where she voted against those pieces of legislation. But now, in the majority, we expect her to work with House Democrats, but also with Sen. Patty Murray, who will be taking over the Senate Appropriations Committee, to try to get these bills compromised and agreed to in both chambers.”
Scully said Granger’s job will not be easy, as she will have to keep both establishment and ultra conservative Republicans happy. Dynamics in the party have been making headlines after several days of disagreement about the next speaker of the House.
Scully said Granger, and the other nine lawmakers on the list, might not always be in the headlines, but they still wield plenty of influence.
“These lawmakers tend not to be bomb throwers. They are policy wonks in many regards,” she said. “They have a reputation for hard work, for understanding sort of the intricate facets of government and for working with their colleagues across the political spectrum. I would say that would be the common thread amongst all of them.”