Democratic leaders shutdown First District Rep. Tim Walz's bid on Wednesday to become Ranking Member of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs.The Mankato Democrat had launched an aggressive bid for the leadership post against Florida Rep. Corrine Brown, who is the senior member on the committee. Brown had the strong support of not only House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, but also the Congressional Black Caucus.
Walz, the highest-ranking enlisted soldier in congressional history, had the backing of some key veterans groups, along with the endorsement of the committee's outgoing ranking member, Maine Rep. Michael Michaud. But leaders of the Democratic caucus blocked Walz from even being considered for the post based on a technicality.Walz has a waiver to serve on the VA committee because he also sits on the House Agriculture and Transportation committees — more than the two allowed under Democratic caucus rules. Since no waivers have been issued yet for the 114th Congress, Walz is technically not yet a member of the VA Committee. An attempt to make Walz a member of the committee during the Steering and Policy Committee failed. The committee recommended Brown for the post. That sets up a vote by the entire Democratic caucus on her nomination.Walz told The Hill, "The most unfortunate part was I just wanted to have an up-or-down vote. That's asking little, and I never even got to make my case. In fact, I never got invited into the room to speak. I think that part disappoints me, but we'll keep advocating."Things could have been worse. At one point, it appeared Walz may have been kicked off the VA Committee entirely. But as of late afternoon, the Minnesota Democrat was told he would be allowed to remain on the panel.