Both Davis and Rep. Christopher Cox, R-Calif., sought to chair the Government Reform Committee and denied interest in chairing the newly created select Homeland Security Committee. But following Davis' selection, House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., said he would appoint Cox to that slot.
As the outgoing chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, Davis kept Republicans in the majority for two terms, making it difficult for the Steering Committee to deny him the chairmanship.
By tapping Davis, Republicans also skipped over Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn., who had more seniority than either Cox or Davis.
Republicans Wednesday also chose Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Calif., to chair the Resources Committee and Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., to head the Agriculture Committee. Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., was unchallenged for the Armed Services panel chairmanship.
In choosing Pombo for Resources, Republicans sorted through a crowded field that also included bids by Reps. John Duncan, R-Tenn., and Elton Gallegly, R-Calif. Rep. Jim Saxton, R-N.J., had the most seniority but took himself out of the running earlier this week.
The Steering Committee also approved the selections of Appropriations Committee Chairman Bill Young, R-Fla., for the 13 Appropriations subcommittee "cardinals."
Five subcommittees have new leaders, including Rep. David Hobson, R-Ohio, at the Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee; Rep. Charles Taylor, R-N.C., at the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee; and Rep. Joseph Knollenberg, R-Mich., at the Military Construction subcommittee.
The two newest cardinals are Reps. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., who will chair the Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee, and Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., who will head the District of Columbia Appropriations Subcommittee.
Bill Ghent contributed to this report.