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Plum assignments for Chicago Dems

U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley | Sun-Times Library

U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley | Sun-Times Library

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Updated: January 5, 2013 6:48PM

WASHINGTON — Rep. Mike Quigley snagged an Appropriations Committee spot while Rep. Luis Gutierrez switched to the Judiciary panel in order to push immigration reform, as House Democrats on Friday finalized assignments for the new Congress.

The Chicago Democrats had lobbied for the slots. The positions come as Congress is likely to handle immigration reform and legislation to reduce gun violence, areas under the Judiciary panel jurisdiction.

Bankrolling projects and sending federal money to Chicago and the state of Illinois are always priorities for local leaders.

The Judiciary Committee handles most of the key immigration legislation, and Gutierrez joined to influence the process as part of his national leadership on immigration reform.

Quigley lands on Appropriations at a time when no one from Illinois is on the panel influencing federal spending, losing a spot when former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. resigned last year.

Quigley got an assist from Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a former House leader, former chair of the House political operation and a formidable fund-raiser who is close to House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.

“I know [Emanuel] called more than one person in leadership,” Quigley told me.

Pelosi told the Sun-Times, “Quigley will bring the values of his district, the aspirations of his constituents, and a strong commitment to fiscal responsibility and job creation to his work on the Appropriations Committee.”

In making the move, Gutierrez gave up considerable seniority on the House Financial Services panel, where he would have been the third-ranking Democratic.

“Giving up 20-plus years of seniority on Financial Services, even temporarily, is not easy, but passing comprehensive immigration reform is my passion and my commitment to my constituents and immigrants all across our country,” Gutierrez said.

Quigley, who is also on the Judiciary Committee, said it was “his understanding” that he could remain on that panel.

Lipinski shuns Pelosi

Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) was one of seven Democrats not to vote for Pelosi as House Speaker on Thursday, usually a party-line vote with the second place finisher becoming the minority leader. Lipinski cast a symbolic vote for Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.). Lipinski is one of the most conservative Democrats in the House and considers himself at ideological odds with Pelosi.

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