Peter T. King
|Peter T. King|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 2nd district
January 3, 2013
|Preceded by||Steve Israel|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 3rd district
January 3, 1993 – January 3, 2013
|Preceded by||Bob Mrazek|
|Succeeded by||Steve Israel|
|Chair of the House Homeland Security Committee|
January 3, 2011 – January 3, 2013
|Preceded by||Bennie Thompson|
|Succeeded by||Michael McCaul|
January 3, 2005 – January 3, 2007
|Preceded by||Christopher Cox|
|Succeeded by||Bennie Thompson|
|Ranking Member of the House Homeland Security Committee|
January 3, 2007 – January 3, 2011
|Preceded by||Bennie Thompson|
|Succeeded by||Bennie Thompson|
|Comptroller of Nassau County|
|Preceded by||Hallstead Christ|
|Succeeded by||Alan Gurein|
|Born||Peter Thomas King
April 5, 1944
New York, New York, U.S.
|Alma mater||St. Francis College (BA)
University of Notre Dame (JD)
|Service/branch||United States Army|
|Years of service||1968–1974|
|Unit||69th Infantry Regiment (New York)|
Peter Thomas "Pete" King (born April 5, 1944) is an American politician and current U.S. Representative for New York's 2nd congressional district. He is a member of the Republican Party and represents the South Shore Long Island district that includes parts of Nassau and Suffolk counties.
King was formerly chair of the House Committee on Homeland Security, where he drew attention in early 2011 for holding hearings on the extent of radicalization of American Muslims. He sits on the Financial Services Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He stepped down as Homeland Security Chairman because of self-imposed Republican term limits. He remains a member of the committee.
- 1 Early life, education, and career
- 2 Early political career
- 3 Political positions and statements
- 3.1 Support for the IRA
- 3.2 Comments about American mosques
- 3.3 Radicalization hearings
- 3.4 Comments about Michael Jackson
- 3.5 Comments about the Occupy Wall Street movement
- 3.6 Comments about Snowden, Greenwald and NSA spying on Americans
- 3.7 Bioterrorism
- 3.8 2016 Presidential Election
- 3.9 National security
- 4 Committee assignments
- 5 Political campaigns
- 6 Electoral history
- 7 Personal life
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Early life, education, and career
King was born in the New York City borough of Manhattan, and raised in the Sunnyside neighborhood in nearby Queens. He is the son of Peter E. King, a New York City police officer, and Ethel M. King (née Gittins). His paternal grandparents were Irish immigrants, from the island of Inishbofin in Galway. His maternal grandfather was Welsh, and his maternal grandmother was also Irish, from Limerick.
He graduated from St. Francis College in 1965 with a degree in political science, and earned his J.D. from Notre Dame Law School in Indiana in 1968. That same year, he began service in the 165th Infantry Regiment of the New York Army National Guard. He worked for the Nassau County District Attorney's Office until 1974, when he was honorably discharged from the 165th Infantry Regiment.
Early political career
King first sought public office in 1977, running for an at-large seat on the Hempstead, New York Town Council and winning with the backing of the then-powerful Nassau County Republican Party machine led by Joseph Margiotta. In 1981, he successfully ran for Nassau County Comptroller again with Margiotta's support. The next year, when several prominent Republican politicians, led by then Senator Alfonse D'Amato, sought to displace Margiotta, King joined them in this internal Republican dispute; at one point, he was the only Nassau politician to do so. King was re-elected in 1985 and 1989. As Comptroller, he displayed independence, often criticizing the budget proposals of County Executives Francis Purcell and later County Executive Thomas Gulotta, both Republicans.
During the 1990s King enjoyed a close relationship with the Muslim community in his congressional district. King often gave speeches at the Westbury Islamic Center, held book signings in the prayer hall, took in Muslim interns, and was one of the few Republicans who supported U.S. intervention in the 1990s to help Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo. The Muslim community thanked King for his work by making him the guest of honor for the 1993 opening of a $3 million prayer hall. For years, a picture of King cutting the ceremonial ribbon hung on the bulletin board by the mosque's entrance.
Political positions and statements
King voted for the 2008 Wall Street bailout, saying it was "necessary for the financial health of New York and his district." He opposed the 2009 economic stimulus package and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. In 2008, he opposed efforts to ban congressional earmarks. He was endorsed by the Brady Campaign in 2006 and 2008. He has been a vocal opponent of illegal immigration. He opposed John McCain's 2007 effort to enact a path to citizenship for current illegal immigrants.
Although he supported McCain for president in 2000 and despite his earlier disagreements with George W. Bush, King later became a Bush supporter. King also opposed McCain's calls for an end to coercive interrogation methods used with suspected terrorists. The New York Times wrote in 2006 that King had been "the Patriot Act's most fervent fan." In 2008, he told the Times, "Look, we have not been attacked in seven years and it's not because of luck."
He supported the Iraq War from 2002 on. King supported President Obama's order to kill Osama Bin Laden, saying that he knows it is a "tough decision" to make in the situation room. He also approved of Obama's surprise trip to Afghanistan in May 2012.
King has opposed President Barack Obama's executive order to close the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. Since 2009 King has argued against holding terrorist trials in New York City saying that enormous security risks and financial costs would accompany the public trials. In April 2011, he called for Attorney General Eric Holder to resign due to Holder's plans to transfer Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other alleged co-conspirators in the September 11, 2001 attacks from Guantanamo to New York City for trials in U.S. federal court. King denounced Holder's plan "as the most irresponsible decision ever made by any attorney general." Holder had recently backed off, announcing that the trials would be held in a military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base.
King continued to challenge Holder in April 2011, demanding to know why the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), its co-founder Omar Ahmad, the Islamic Society of North America, the North American Islamic Trust. and other unindicted "co-conspirators" in the Holy Land Foundation "terrorism financing" trial, were not being prosecuted by the United States Department of Justice. In a letter to Holder, King wrote he had recently learned that the decision had been made by high-ranking Justice Department officials "over the vehement and stated objections of special agents and supervisors of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as well as the prosecutors at the U.S. Attorney's Office in Dallas", adding that "there should be full transparency into the Department’s decision." Holder responded that the decision not to prosecute had been made during the Bush administration. The U.S. Attorney in Dallas said he alone had been responsible for the decision, which had been made based on an analysis of the law and the evidence, with no political pressure involved.
In December 2009, King commented on reports that accused attempted airline bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, had admitted to being trained and equipped in Yemen and on then pending plans to release several Guantanamo prisoners to Yemen: "I don't think Guantanamo should be closed, but if we're going to close it I don't believe we should be sending people to Yemen where prisoners have managed to escape in the past .... Obviously, if [Abdulmutallab] did get training and direction from Yemen, it just adds to what is already a dangerous situation", he said.
King criticized the activities of WikiLeaks and in December 2010 suggested that the group be designated a "terrorist organization" and treated as such by U.S. agencies. In 2011, King became a co-sponsor of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).
King praised President Barack Obama's nominations of Leon Panetta for United States Secretary of Defense and General David Petraeus for Director of the Central Intelligence Agency saying, "Director Panetta has done an outstanding job at the CIA, and General Petraeus has distinguished himself as one of the great American military leaders. Both men ... will be instrumental as we continue to combat the terrorist threat.” In September 2015, King stated that the decision of John Boehner to resign as Speaker was "a victory for the crazies".
Support for the IRA
King began actively supporting the Irish republican movement in the late 1970s. He frequently traveled to Northern Ireland to meet with senior members of the paramilitary group, the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA), many of whom he counted as friends. King compared Gerry Adams, the leader of Sinn Féin, the political wing of the Irish republican movement, to George Washington, and asserted that the "British government is a murder machine". However, he did not meet Adams until 1984.
King became involved with NORAID, an organization that the British, Irish and U.S. governments had accused of financing IRA activities and providing them with weapons. Regarding the 30 years of violence during which the IRA killed over 1,700 people, King said, "If civilians are killed in an attack on a military installation, it is certainly regrettable, but I will not morally blame the IRA for it."
He also called the IRA "the legitimate voice of occupied Ireland". Speaking at a pro-IRA rally in 1982 in Nassau County, New York, King pledged support to "those brave men and women who this very moment are carrying forth the struggle against British imperialism in the streets of Belfast and Derry." In 1985, the Irish government boycotted New York's annual St. Patrick's Day celebrations in protest at King serving as Grand Marshal of the event; the Irish government condemned him as an "avowed" supporter of "IRA terrorism". At the parade he again offered words of support for the IRA.
In 1993, King lobbied unsuccessfully for Gerry Adams to be a guest at the inauguration of President Bill Clinton. In 2000, he called then-presidential candidate George W. Bush a tool of "anti-Catholic bigoted forces", after Bush visited Bob Jones University in South Carolina, described by King as "an institution that is notorious in Ireland for awarding an honorary doctorate to Northern Ireland's tempestuous Protestant leader, Ian Paisley." King was a go-between during the Northern Ireland peace process, and has said the IRA was a "legitimate force that had to be recognized" to have peace.
During the 1980s and 1990s, the NSA and CIA collected intelligence on financial transactions between the United States and Ireland and Northern Ireland involving Irish terrorist groups supported by King. The group Irish Northern Aid (NORAID) funneled money to the Irish Republican Army (IRA) that was used to buy weapons used to blow up civilians and members of the British government, military and police. King was an active supporter of NORAID, a tax-exempt front for the IRA. Martin Galvin, King's friend and former NORAID chief, rejected the Northern Ireland Good Friday Agreement and supports the agenda of the "Real IRA" (RIRA).
During the 1980s, NSA's British counterpart, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) intercepted a number of King's phone calls from the United States and from within Britain, in which his political and financial support for the IRA was discussed. GCHQ relied on Canada's Communications Security Establishment (CSE) to monitor King's domestic phone calls in New York and Long Island since U.S. law, including the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FIS) prohibited the surveillance of King by NSA assets. King's financial and political support for the IRA coincided with the terrorist group's alliances with Palestinians, Lebanese, Latin American, Basque, Corsican, German, and Breton terrorist groups and the Libyan government of Muammar el Qaddafi. NSA signals intelligence (SIGINT) intercepts demonstrate that Libya and Lebanese terrorist groups targeted Americans in terrorist attacks during the 1980s, while King supported their Irish compatriots with money and weapons.
Although disgruntled by near unanimous Irish nationalist/republican opposition to the 2003 United States invasion of Iraq, King nonetheless supported bail in 2008 for an Irish republican Maze escapee, Pól Brennan, who had escaped from prison in Northern Ireland in 1983. Brennan was later deported to the Republic of Ireland in April 2009.
In a 2005 interview King said he had "cooled on Ireland", blaming an epidemic of what he called "knee-jerk anti-Americanism" that swept through Ireland after the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. "I don't buy that it's just anti-Bush. There's a certain unpleasant trait that the Irish have, and it's begrudgery ... and resentment towards the Americans."
King, who often used to visit Belfast twice a year, has not visited Ireland since shortly before the September 11 attacks. He said he had turned down an offer from the Obama administration to be the US ambassador to Ireland in 2009.
At a September 2011 hearing in England concerning terrorism, King said the IRA used British torture as a recruiting tool,[clarification needed] but that it has no parallels with American treatment of suspects after 9/11.
In 2011, King said that his ties to the Irish Republican Army (IRA) had been "entirely distorted", arguing that if the accusations were true then "I doubt the president of the United States would have offered me the position of ambassador to Ireland."
Comments about American mosques
In 2004, King claimed in an interview with conservative talk radio host Sean Hannity that "no American Muslim leaders are cooperating in the war on terror," and that "80-85 percent of mosques in this country are controlled by Islamic fundamentalists .... This is an enemy living amongst us." The Council on American-Islamic Relations denounced the comments as "Islamophobic bigotry" and Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe called on President George W. Bush to "condemn this latest example of hate-filled language." In a September 2007 interview with the website Politico.com, King said that "There are too many mosques in this country... There are too many people sympathetic to radical Islam. We should be looking at them more carefully and finding out how we can infiltrate them." King later said he meant to say that too many mosques in the United States do not cooperate with law enforcement.
In December 2010, King announced that, when he became Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, he would hold hearings on the alleged radicalization of some American Muslims. While allowing that, "The overwhelming majority of Muslims are outstanding citizens," he claimed some Islamic clerics were telling their congregations to ignore extremism and to refrain from helping government investigators. King cited Justice Department statistics showing that, over the previous two years, 50 U.S. citizens had been charged with major acts of terrorism and that all were motivated by radical Islamic ideologies.
The first hearing, held on March 10, 2011, was entitled "The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community's Response." The hearing included testimony from Representative John D. Dingell of Michigan, Representative Keith Ellison of Minnesota, who is one of two Muslims in the U.S. Congress, Representative Frank Wolf of Virginia, and Los Angeles County Sheriff Leroy Baca. Others to provide testimony included Dr. M Zuhdi Jasser, a secular Muslim and Founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy; Melvin Bledsoe, whose son Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, a Muslim convert, is serving a life sentence for killing a soldier and wounding another in the 2009 Little Rock recruiting office shooting; and Abdirizak Bihi, the Director of the Somali Education and Social Advocacy Center. The Council on American Islamic Relations submitted a statement to the committee.
In an article for the National Review, King announced that his second and third Homeland Security Committee hearings on radicalization would focus on foreign money coming into American mosques and al Shabab’s efforts to recruit young Muslim men in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The second hearing was set for mid-May while the third was tentatively scheduled for July. King stated he would continue to hold radicalization hearings as long as he is chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.
Bennie Thompson (D-MS), the ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security Committee, responded by saying that "none of these law enforcement and intelligence officials have backed King's assertions that the Muslim community has not been helpful in thwarting terrorist attacks." Thompson wrote King, demanding that the scope of the hearings be widened to include all extremist groups in the United States, irrespective of ideology or religion. Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca said that there was nothing to support King's claims of non-cooperation by American Muslims, and invited King to Los Angeles to show the reported cooperation between Muslim-Americans and federal law enforcement. The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), in a letter to King, claimed that his call was sweeping and misguided and called for a meeting with him to discuss his initiatives, the proposed hearings, and the efforts of the Muslim American community to fight radicalization.
The Council on American Islamic Relations joined fifty other activist and Human Rights organizations, including Amnesty International, the Sikh Coalition, the Japanese American Citizens League and Unitarian Universalist Service Committee in signing a letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), comparing the hearings to those held by Senator Joe McCarthy in the 1950s and calling them "divisive and wrong", and "an affront to fundamental [American] freedoms" Seema Jilani, a freelance journalist writing an opinion piece in The Guardian, described King as "America's new McCarthy", who was instigating "a bigoted witchhunt."
Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel for the conservative religious organization American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which opposed the building of the Park51 Community Center, declared his support for King and the hearings and remarked, "This hearing isn’t about profiling — it's about protecting our homeland."
Frank Gaffney, founder and president of the American Center for Security Policy, praised King for holding a hearing "about an issue that has long been deemed politically untouchable" and opined that King had indeed shown there is "a problem of 'extremism' within the American Muslim community." Several members of Congress, including Representatives Mike Rogers and Joe Walsh, wrote letters of support for King's hearings. Rogers wrote that radicalization could happen anywhere in the United States, and thus it is an issue all Americans have to deal with. Walsh added that “Homegrown terrorists are the number one threat facing American families right now, and it would be irresponsible and negligent not to try and identify the causes of their radicalization.”
Comments about Michael Jackson
Let's knock out the psychobabble. He was a pervert, a child molester, he was a pedophile. And to be giving this much coverage to him, day in and day out, what does it say about us as a country? I just think we're too politically correct. No one wants to stand up and say we don't need Michael Jackson. He died, he had some talent, fine. There's men and women dying every day in Afghanistan. Let's give them the credit they deserve.
Due to the high-profile nature of Jackson's death, King's statement generated national media coverage. In reaction to the controversy, King said, "I believe I'm articulating the views of a great majority of the American people".
Comments about the Occupy Wall Street movement
On October 7, 2011, King commented on the Occupy Wall Street movement:
We have to be careful not to allow this to get any legitimacy. I'm taking this seriously in that I'm old enough to remember what happened in the 1960s when the left-wing took to the streets and somehow the media glorified them and it ended up shaping policy. We can’t allow that to happen.
Comments about Snowden, Greenwald and NSA spying on Americans
On Tuesday, June 11, 2013, King stated that not only should Edward Snowden be punished for releasing information to the American public that Verizon customers were being spied on, but so should the journalists Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras for publishing Edward Snowden's classified documents. On June 12, 2013, on Fox News King once again called for prosecution of Greenwald, alleging that the journalist was said to be in possession of names of CIA agents around the world and would be "threatening to disclose" them. Via Twitter, Greenwald immediately refuted King's claim and called it a "blatant lie".
King and Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) asked Congress on March 11, 2015 to make anthrax vaccines that are about to expire and otherwise would be disposed of available to emergency responders. They made their request in a letter to fellow members of Congress shortly after King introduced the bill (H.R. 1300) on March 4, 2015. King previously introduced the bill in September 2014, but it was not enacted.
2016 Presidential Election
On April 19, 2016, King stated that he would take cyanide, should Ted Cruz ever win the Republican nomination for president, stating:
I hate Ted Cruz, and I think I'll take cyanide if he ever got the nomination. Now, having said that, I think you're going to see Donald Trump scoring a big victory tonight. I have not endorsed Donald Trump. In fact, I actually voted by absentee ballot for John Kasich.
King went on to state that if Donald Trump received the nomination for president, that he would need to "get more substance" to "learn what he's talking about", and to quit "making reckless charges".
King supported President Donald Trump's 2017 executive order to temporarily curtail Muslim immigration until better screening methods are devised. He stated that “I don’t think the Constitution applies to people coming in from outside the country, especially if there is a logical basis for it.”
King's committee assignments for the 113th United States Congress are:
- Committee on Homeland Security
- Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
- United States House Committee on Financial Services
1986 NYS Republican ticket
- Governor: Andrew O'Rourke
- Lieutenant Governor: E. Michael Kavanagh
- Comptroller: Edward Regan
- Attorney General: Peter T. King
- U.S. Senate: Alfonse D'Amato
1992 to 2008
When Democratic Congressman Robert Mrazek announced his short-lived candidacy for the Senate against Republican incumbent Alphonse D'Amato in 1992, King ran for the then vacant 3rd Congressional District seat. Despite being outspent 5-to-1, King won 49.6% to 46.5%. From 1993–2008, he sometimes faced only token opposition, while in other races, he ran against those who could self-finance their campaigns. Although King was outspent in those races, he would ultimately win by double-digit margins.
In 2006, originally Nassau County Legislator David Denenberg intended to run against King. When he dropped out shortly after his announcement, fellow legislator Dave Mejias ran instead. While some pundits believed this race would be close due to dissatisfaction with Bush, King defeated Mejias 56% to 44%. King again sought re-election to Congress in 2008. The Democrats fielded 25-year-old newcomer Graham Long in a long-shot bid to defeat King. King won the 2008 election with 64% of the vote.
Speculation of a 2010 Senate campaign
After briefly contemplating running for Governor of New York in 2010, King announced that he was seriously thinking of running for the U.S. Senate in a special election for the last two years of the term won in 2006 by Hillary Clinton, who had since been appointed Secretary of State. King had contemplated running for Senate in 2000 against Hillary Clinton, and even created an exploratory committee in 2003 to challenge Chuck Schumer. On both occasions he ultimately decided not to pursue the challenge. He said there would be no primary with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, as the latter would instead opt to throw his support behind King and possibly explore a gubernatorial bid.
When Kirsten Gillibrand, the representative of New York's 20th congressional district, was appointed to fill the seat until the special election by Governor David Paterson, King said he would consider holding off on making a run for the seat: "If he appointed Caroline Kennedy, I was ready to file papers right away because she’s a superstar and you can’t let her build a head of steam – and she was totally unqualified in my perspective. With Kirsten, she's entitled to be given an opportunity to build a record for the state." However, two days after the Gillibrand pick, King demanded Paterson justify his selection of the congresswoman, saying there were more qualified candidates. In August 2009, King ruled out a senate run; however, in January 2010, he said he was reconsidering a run. King ultimately decided to run for re-election for congress, which he won with 72% of the vote.
2016 presidential campaign
During a 2013 radio interview in New Hampshire, King said that he was in the state "because right now I'm running for President," for the 2016 election. However, during a March 2014 CNN interview, King said he was considering running, not actively running. In a July 2015 interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN, King announced he would not be running for president.
King had earlier characterized a potential candidacy as being opposed to potential Tea Party movement candidates such as Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, whom he criticized for their national defense policies, calling them "isolationists who barely mention the threat of Islamic terrorism." He later opposed Republican efforts to tie the repeal of delay of the Affordable Care Act to a continuing resolution before and during the 2013 government shutdown, and accused Tea Party conservatives of trying to "hijack the party."
Third party candidates omitted, so percentages may not add up to 100%.
|1992||Peter T. King (R)||124,727||50%|
|Steve Orlins (D)||116,915||46%|
|1994||Peter T. King (R)||115,236||59%|
|Norma Grill (D)||77,774||40%|
|1996||Peter T. King (R)||127,972||55%|
|Dal LaMagna (D)||97,518||42%|
|1998||Peter T. King (R)||117,258||64%|
|Kevin Langberg (D)||63,628||35%|
|2000||Peter T. King (R)||143,126||60%|
|Dal LaMagna (D)||95,787||40%|
|2002||Peter T. King (R)||121,537||72%|
|Stuart Finz (D)||46,022||27%|
|2004||Peter T. King (R)||171,259||63%|
|Blair Mathies (D)||100,737||37%|
|2006||Peter T. King (R)||101,787||56%|
|David Mejias (D)||79,843||44%|
|2008||Peter T. King (R)||135,648||64%|
|Graham Long (D)||76,918||35%|
|2010||Peter T. King (R)||126,142||72%|
|Howard Kudler (D)||48,963||28%|
|2012||Peter T. King (R)||142,309||59%|
|Vivianne Falcone (D)||100,545||42%|
|2014||Peter T. King (R)||91,701||65%|
|Patricia Maher (D)||40,009||28%|
|2016||Peter T. King (R)||181,506||57%|
|Du Wayne Gregory (D)||110,938||35%|
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- CAIR's testimony
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- Peter T. King (May 1, 1999). Terrible Beauty: A Novel (Hardcover). Roberts Rinehard. p. 352. ISBN 978-1-56833-217-8.
Peter T. King (March 18, 2002). Deliver Us from Evil: A Novel (Hardcover). Roberts Rinehart. p. 320. ISBN 978-1-57098-419-8.
Peter T. King (November 10, 2003). Vale of Tears: A Novel (Hardcover). Taylor Trade Publishing. p. 320. ISBN 978-1-58979-062-9.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Peter T. King.|
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Peter T. King|
- Congressman Pete King official U.S. House site
- Pete King for Congress
- Pete King at DMOZ
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Profile at SourceWatch
- Gerry Adams’ US Ally, Peter King Help Trump Frame His ‘Muslim’ Ban?
|Comptroller of Nassau County
|Party political offices|
|Republican nominee for Attorney General of New York
|United States House of Representatives|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 3rd congressional district
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 2nd congressional district
|Chair of the House Homeland Security Committee
|Chair of the House Homeland Security Committee
|United States order of precedence (ceremonial)|
Eddie Bernice Johnson
|United States Representatives by seniority