King to lead House Homeland Security Committee

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) has become chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, following a vote held yesterday by the House Steering Committee. The House Republican Conference ratified King's elevation today.

King replaces former congressman Christopher Cox, who gave up the chairmanship and his House seat this summer when President Bush nominated him to become head of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

'In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, we know that we have a tremendous responsibility to ensure that the nation is prepared to respond to all catastrophic events, whether terrorist attacks or natural disasters,' King said today. 'This committee has an important mission to protect all Americans, and I am honored to serve as its chairman.'

King beat out several other lawmakers vying for the position, including Republican Reps. Don Young of Alaska, currently chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania, vice chairman of both the Armed Services and Homeland Security committees.

King has represented his New York district for seven terms. He had been chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Science and Technology.

Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) issued a statement congratulating King on his selection.

'Protecting the homeland is among our highest priorities. And I am pleased that the House Steering Committee has chosen, and the House Republican Conference has ratified, the selection of an able, thoughtful, passionate and committed leader to chair the Homeland Security Committee'my good friend Peter King of New York,' Hastert said. 'It is only fitting that his appointment should come just days after America marked the fourth anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks.'

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