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Dan Crenshaw defeated by conservative rival in bid for Homeland Security Committee chair

By Sarah May on
 January 10, 2023

As the contours of the 118th Congress begin to emerge, outspoken Republican Congressman Dan Crenshaw of Texas failed to secure the chairmanship of the Homeland Security Committee on Monday, losing out to Freedom Caucus member Rep. Mark Green of Tennessee, as the Daily Mail reports.

In his new role, Green will oversee the panel with oversight responsibility for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which notably encompasses matters pertaining to immigration and terrorism.

Green tops Crenshaw

The House Republican Steering Committee tapped Green over Crenshaw, even though both lawmakers said they would prioritize the crisis at the southern border, and some observers have suggested that the former's reputation as a member of the party's more conservative faction is indicative of the influence that wing may wield in the wake of the protracted battle for the speaker's gavel.

After securing the position, Green tweeted, as the New York Post noted, that he was looking “forward to working with [Crenshaw], a fellow veteran who understands our national security challenges, to secure our homeland.”

In pursuing the post, Green vowed that the panel would enlist the services of at least one staffer who would be stationed at the southern border to facilitate cooperation with Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and other key stakeholders, as the Post also noted.

Speaking to Fox News Digital, Green declared, “For the sake of our national security and homeland security, we must secure our border.”

“We have no choice. We will empower our brave CBP agents to do their jobs and hold President Biden and Secretary [Alejandro] Mayorkas accountable for the crisis that they created,” Green added.

Consequence of conflict?

Crenshaw's committee disappointment came in the wake of last week's contentious speaker's fight in which he railed against a group of roughly 20 holdouts who were opposed to then-nominee Kevin McCarthy's candidacy in a surprisingly candid and incendiary way, as the Post noted.

Speaking to CNN as the battle for the gavel dragged on, Crenshaw said of the anti-McCarthy stalwarts, “They are enemies now,” adding that the group's members “have made it clear that they prefer a Democrat agenda than a Republican one.”

Not long after, Crenshaw told Fox News Radio personality Guy Benson that with regard to the ongoing standoff within the GOP, “We cannot let the terrorists win.”

“They demand more places on committees. So, McCarthy says, 'OK give me a list of names.' And then they refuse. And then they say, 'Oh, you're trying to trick us.' You know? I mean, it's like playing with children. I mean, it's very difficult to understand what it is they want,” the Texas lawmaker said of several of his fellow Republicans.

Amid a bit of backlash over those comments, Crenshaw ultimately offered something of a mea culpa, saying on CNN's State of the Union, “To the extent that I have colleagues that were offended by it, I sincerely apologize to them.”

“I don't want them to think I actually believe they're terrorists. It's clearly a turn of phrase that you use in what is an intransigent negotiation,” Crenshaw explained, but added.

Prolonged reverberations

The tense scenario on the House floor during 15 rounds of balloting for speaker last week continues to bring after-effects potentially impacting the composition of a number of key committees, as the Post further reported.

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL), who got into a heated altercation on the House floor with anti-McCarthy holdout Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) in which he had to be physically restrained, recently stated his intention to step down from the party's steering committee due to the incident.

However, he changed his mind late on Monday, revealing that he would keep his position on the panel in response to “an overwhelming number of members, both rank & file and leadership” who reportedly requested that he remain.

According to The Hill, Rogers has expressed contrition about what occurred in the heat of battle, saying on Twitter, “@RepMattGaetz and I have a long and productive working relationship that I am sure will continue. I regret that I briefly lost my temper on the House Floor Friday evening and appreciate Matt's kind understanding.”

For his part, Gaetz said he has forgiven Rogers for the flare-up, but the actual ability of the warring factions within the GOP to bridge the divide, make committee assignments in a manner satisfactory to all, and unite in support of their voters' priorities is something that remains to be seen.