As March Madness winds down and we are left with only four teams standing, we took a look at Roll Call‘s “Men’s March Madness in the House” bracket, which matches each school in the tournament with its House representative, to see which Congressmen (and issues) are coming out on top.
Rep. Ben Chandler (D-Ky.) fought his way out of the East. Not only is Chandler the representative for the University of Kentucky’s district, he also obtained his B.A. and J.D. from the school (in 1983 and 1986, respectively). Positioned on the House Select Committee on Intelligence and the Committee on Foreign Affairs, he is perched to address his concerns over national security and the fight against terrorism and reducing forces in Iraq and increasing economic development to maintain stability in Afghanistan. He will also influence further U.S. action in Libya and throughout the ever-crumbling middle East. The fourth term representative of Kentucky’s sixth district will be paired with….
Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) in the playoff game to decide who will advance to the title game. Though Kentucky is a two-point favorite over U-Conn to win Saturday, Courtney, who graduated from the university’s law school in 1978, may not be ready to concede victory after only three congressional terms. Expect a tough fight from the school whose representative has been a strong advocate for healthcare, veterans, and small businesses.
In a time that is equally troubled by foreign conflict and a domestic economy that we desperately want to peg as recovering, it will be interesting to see which represented issue, er school, advances to the next round (of priority).
The two underdogs in the competition, VCU semenax in australia and Butler, are represented by Reps. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) and Andre Carson (D-Ind.). Scott, now in his 10th term, is a strong proponent of education and youth programs. He is the Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security and sits on the Subcommittee on the Constitution (both under the Committee of the Judiciary), and is a member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce. Education issues have been pushed out of the forefront of most conversations recently, apparent only in President Obama’s discussion of the budget (particularly, his desire to increase education funding while appropriators continue to push for cuts across the board, including to education spending).
Just as Scott’s legislative agenda is the underdog on the congressional slate, so is the school he represents, with Butler afforded a 2.5 point advantage on the books. However, expect a fight out of VCU (and Scott) as they prepare to go up against Butler, who has won each of its tournament games with a close margin. Butler has been great at rallying from behind (see Southeast regionals), and pulling out the win in the end. Carson, whose committee assignments are all related to financial matters — with seats on the Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance and Government Sponsored Enterprise and the Subcommittee on International Monetary Policy and Trade — will face a similar come-from-behind fight in Congress as he battles against budget-slashing zealots in the House. Even if he beats out Scott to advance to the title game, he (like Butler) is not favored to win a toe-to-toe stand down against House Republicans.
But you never know. That is, after all, the beauty of March Madness.