Underwood to immediately replace Cuellar in prominent funding role after indictment

Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-Ill.) is set to become top Democrat on the House subcommittee that crafts Homeland Security Department (DHS) funding, replacing Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) shortly after he was indicted on bribery charges.

Aides confirmed the news, first reported by Bloomberg Government, to The Hill on Friday afternoon.

A House Democratic aide said Underwood, who was previously tapped to serve on the subcommittee in 2021, will immediately begin serving as ranking member on the GOP-led subcommittee. 

The news comes shortly after House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries’s (D-N.Y.) office confirmed Cuellar would be stepping down from the role following reports that the Texas Democrat and his wife had been indicted. Cuellar has been alleged to have accepted nearly $600,000 in bribes and laundered the funds.

Jeffries’ office said that Cuellar would take leave pursuant to House rules.

“Henry Cuellar has admirably devoted his career to public service and is a valued Member of the House Democratic Caucus,” the office said. “Like any American, Congressman Cuellar is entitled to his day in court and the presumption of innocence throughout the legal process.”

“Pursuant to House Democratic Caucus Rule 24, Congressman Cuellar will take leave as Ranking Member of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee while this matter is ongoing.”

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