House Finance Panel Republicans Said to Back Bachus as Chairman

House Finance Panel Republicans Said to Back Bachus
A panel of selected Republicans will meet after Congress returns the week of Nov. 15 to pick the committee chairmen, with Rep. Spencer Bachus receiving support to head the Financial Services Committee. Photographer: Brendan Hoffman/Bloomberg

The top Republicans on the House Financial Services Committee will support Alabama Representative Spencer Bachus’s bid for the panel’s chairmanship over a challenge from Representative Ed Royce of California, according to two House aides briefed on the matter.

The six ranking Republicans on the panel today have agreed to sign a letter circulated by Representative Randy Neugebauer of Texas, the second-ranking Republican on the committee, the aides said.

Bachus is “the best person to continue leading our team” as the panel approaches an overhaul of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage companies in federal conservatorship, and the implementation of the financial regulation enacted in July, according to the draft letter obtained today by Bloomberg news.

The letter underlines the support Bachus has built in his role as senior Republican on the committee even if it doesn’t ensure his victory. A panel of selected Republicans, not the Financial Services Committee members, will meet after Congress returns the week of Nov. 15 to pick the chairmen of the chamber’s committees.

“This will be decided by the House GOP leadership and the steering Committee, not subcommittee ranking members,” Audra McGeorge, Royce’s spokesman, said in an e-mail.

Bachus has been the top Republican on the panel that oversees banking and finance since 2007. The day after the Nov. 2 election where Republicans claimed more than 60 seats to sweep back into power in the House, Royce said he also would seek the post.

‘Critical Time’

“This is about the need for strong leadership during a critical time in our capital markets and our economy,” Royce said in an e-mailed statement today.

Beth Breeding, Neugebauer’s spokeswoman, confirmed that the letter originated in the lawmaker’s office.

Bachus led a Republican effort against President Barack Obama’s financial overhaul bill that “succeeded in driving the reform debate and denying the Democrats the political ‘win’ they so desperately needed in the wake of other unpopular Obama administration initiatives like health care and the stimulus,” the letter states.

The letter has been circulated to the top members of each of the panel’s six subcommittees: Judy Biggert of Illinois, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Jeb Hensarling of Texas, Scott Garrett of New Jersey, Gary Miller of California and Ron Paul of Texas.

Biggert and Capito have said they will join Neugebauer in signing the letter, their spokespeople Zachary Cikanek and Jamie Corley said today. Garrett also will sign, aides said. Spokesmen for Hensarling, Paul and Miller didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

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