Freshman GOPer Zeldin wins spot on foreign affairs panel

Ron Kampeas

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Newly elected U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) won a coveted spot on the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee.

Zeldin, who defeated Rep. Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.) in the Long Island-area NY-1 district, will be the only Jewish Republican in the House in the wake of the primary defeat earlier this year of former Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who was the House majority leader.

Freshman appointments to the Foreign Affairs Committee are rare. Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) included Zeldin in 25 members he named to the committee on Dec. 10.

The committee’s top Democrat, Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), has yet to announce Democrats who will serve on the committee in the incoming Congress.

Of the 20 Democrats on the outgoing Congress’s Foreign Affairs Committee, eight, including Engel, are Jewish, although one of these, Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.) was not reelected.

Zeldin, 34 and an Iraq War veteran, was this week also named co-chairman of the House Republican Israel Caucus.