Democrats Shuffle House Committee Seats

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WASHINGTON — Rep. Luis Gutierrez, the third ranking Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, is taking a leave of absence from the panel to focus on immigration reform. Meanwhile, the committee is welcoming Denny Heck, a freshman congressman from Washington.

Gutierrez, an Illinois Democrat, was the ranking member of the Financial Services subcommittee on housing, insurance and community opportunity in the last Congress. Previously, when the Democrats had a majority in the House, he was the chairman of the subcommittee on financial institutions and consumer credit. He will join the Judiciary Committee, where had previously served from 2007 to 2010, to work on immigration issues.

"Giving up 20-plus years of seniority on Financial Services, even temporarily, is not easy, but passing comprehensive immigration reform is my passion and my commitment to my constituents and immigrants all across our country," Gutierrez, chair of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, said in a statement Friday.

Heck will give up his previously assigned seat on the House Budget Committee to sit on the banking panel. (The Democrats announced a more complete slate of committee assignments for the new congressional session last month.)

"The House Financial Services Committee has the opportunity to continue promoting the recent growth we've seen in the housing sector," Heck said in a statement." I'm also looking forward to ensuring that the 2010 Wall Street reforms are implemented so that Washington families are protected from a repeat of the actions that led up to the 2008 financial crisis. With major employers, credit unions, financial institutions, and a burgeoning tech-start up industry, Washington has a tremendous and growing stake in the work done under jurisdiction of the Committee."

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