WASHINGTON, D.C. -- With the swearing-in ceremony and photo ops now behind them, a new task lies ahead for North Carolina’s two new congressmen: finding their place on Capitol Hill.
- Rep. Greg Murphy says he wants to work on military matters since his district includes Camp Lejeune
- Rep. Dan Bishop says he'll fit in on the House Judiciary Committee
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Reps. Greg Murphy and Dan Bishop, who took the oath Tuesday, now await their House committee assignments. It is there, on those smaller panels of lawmakers, that they can get a front row seat to crafting policy.
Murphy, R-3rd District, says his “first request” is to be on the House Armed Services Committee, which works on military matters. His district includes Camp Lejeune.
“Our largest constituency really is our military,” he said.
Bishop, R-9th District, says he thinks he would fit in well on the House Judiciary Committee. He has other committees on his wish-list, as well.
“The number one industry in that district is agriculture, so that’s one spot to consider. And then, of course, I hail from Charlotte, which is a huge financial services capital, and so the Financial Services Committee is another one that would make sense,” he said.
Both lawmakers acknowledge they may not get any of their top choices. A side-effect of joining Congress mid-session is that most prime committee assignments are already doled out and claimed.
Lawmakers can also join caucuses: groups that focus on certain issues or take political positions.
Murphy says he is interested in joining the House Freedom Caucus, a conservative group noted in recent years for backing the president. Fellow North Carolina Republican Mark Meadows, who endorsed Murphy’s campaign, is the outgoing chair of that group.
“They stand for transparency in government, honesty in government, leading what our forefathers thought our government should look like,” Murphy said. “I’m really happy to hopefully be part of them.”
Bishop, so far, is not identifying what caucuses he hopes to join though he did say in an interview on election night that the Freedom Caucus would be a “possibility.”
Bishop did say he plans to act “independently.”
“I believe it's important to try to cooperate with leadership, but I never have been dictated to by leadership,” he said.
In joining Congress, both lawmakers will share one new experience: being a part of the minority party.
Democrats control the U.S. House and the agenda there, which is something Bishop and Murphy may not necessarily be used to coming from the Republican-dominated North Carolina General Assembly.