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Babin to seek gavel at House Science Committee in next Congress

Babin to seek gavel at House Science Committee in next Congress

Rep. Brian Babin will formally seek the gavel at the House Science, Space and Technology Committee in the next Congress, potentially putting yet another Texas Republican in charge of a House panel.

“Throughout my near decade in Congress, I’ve learned the importance of supporting those on your committee and being a team player,” Babin said in a statement to Punchbowl News. “As various committee chairs have demonstrated for me in the past, looking out for your GOP team members strengthens your committee and conference.”

The 76-year-old Babin was first elected to Congress in 2014. NASA’s massive Johnson Space Center is located in his district. More than 11,000 people work at that facility. Babin currently chairs the subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics for the SST panel.

Babin — a former dentist and local mayor before coming to Congress — also has forged a close relationship with SpaceX, the Texas-based space exploration giant founded by mega-billionaire Elon Musk.

Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), who currently chairs the Science panel, wants to take over the Financial Services Committee in the next Congress, which provides an opening for Babin to seek this gavel.

Budget Committee Chair Jodey Arrington, a fellow Texas Republican, said Babin was “the perfect choice” for SST chair.

“On the policy front, on the political front, in terms of his leadership skills, his credibility, and having the science, space and technology assets in our state, I don’t see anyone on that committee would be able to compete with what he could bring in terms of value, not just for our conference but the country,” Arrington said.

Right now, Texas Republicans — the largest GOP delegation in the Republican Conference — wield several gavels. These include Budget, Foreign Affairs, Rules and Small Business. Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas), the Rules Committee chair, is retiring at the end of the year. And Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas), who is also retiring, stepped down as chair of the Appropriations panel back in March.

— John Bresnahan

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