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INSIDE (THE BELTWAY) SCOOP – JENNIFER ZEITZER
Created by on 01/18/2011

The first week of the 112th Congress began with a peaceful transfer of power when nearly 100 new Representatives took the oath of office and Republicans formally elected John Boehner (OH) as Speaker of the House. Democrats chose former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA) as House Minority Leader, and the chamber adopted a new package of rules and procedures for handling day-to-day operations. In addition, Representative Harold Rogers (KY), the new chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, announced the chairs and Republican members of each of the 12 subcommittees.

Dennis Rehberg (MT) will chair the Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS) Subcommittee. Frank Wolf (VA) is the new leader of the Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) panel which he previously chaired from 2001 to 2006. Jack Kingston (GA) will lead the Agriculture subcommittee. Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ) will take over Energy and Water and John Culberson (TX) is the chair of the Military Construction-Veterans Affairs panel. Kingston, Frelinghuysen, and Wolf served as the ranking members of their respective subcommittees, and Rehberg was the second most senior Republican on the LHHS panel in the last Congress. Representative Culberson is new to the Veterans Affairs subcommittee. Following the announcement of the new subcommittee chairmen, Rehberg issued a press release stating that he will use his new position to fight for reduced spending and improved oversight, especially with regard to blocking funding to implement the health care reform legislation passed in 2009. Wolf outlined his priorities for the CJS Subcommittee in a statement, noting that “in science and technology, he will work to prioritize science, technology, engineering and math education and invigorate the manned space exploration program to increase American competitiveness.”
 
The following House Republicans have been appointed to serve on the subcommittees with jurisdiction over funding for the federal research and science agencies:
 
Agriculture Subcommittee
(Agriculture and Food Research Initiative)
 
Jack Kingston (GA), Chairman
Tom Latham (IA)
Jo Ann Emerson (MO)
Robert Aderholt (AL)
Cynthia Lummis (WY)
Alan Nunnelee (MS)
Tom Graves (GA)
 
Commerce, Justice, Science Subcommittee
(National Science Foundation - NSF)
 
Frank Wolf (VA), Chairman
John Culberson (TX)
Robert Aderholt (AL)
Jo Bonner (AL)
Steve Austria (OH)
Tom Graves (GA)
Kevin Yoder (KS)
 
Energy and Water Subcommittee
(Department of Energy Office of Science)
 
Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ), Chairman
Jerry Lewis (CA)
Mike Simpson (ID)
Dennis Rehberg (MT)
Rodney Alexander (LA)
Steve Womack (AR)
Alan Nunnelee (MS)
 
Labor, Health and Human Services Subcommittee
(National Institutes of Health – NIH)
 
Dennis Rehberg (MT), Chairman
Jerry Lewis (CA)
Rodney Alexander (LA)
Jack Kingston (GA)
Kay Granger (TX)
Mike Simpson (ID)
Jeff Flake (AZ)
Cynthia Lummis (WY)
 
Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee
(Veterans Administration Medical and Prosthetics Research Program)
 
John Culberson (TX), Chairman
Bill Young, (FL)
John Carter (TX)
Jeff Flake (AZ)
Steve Austria (OH)
Kevin Yoder (KS)
Alan Nunnelee (MS) 

 

Although Democrats have not said who will serve as the minority leadership on the Appropriations Subcommittees, multiple press reports indicated that Representative Rosa DeLauro (CT) is likely to become the ranking member on the LHHS Subcommittee. The Democratic rosters of the spending panels are expected to be announced soon. FASEB President William Talman will be in Washington in early February to meet with the new Appropriations Subcommittee leadership to discuss the importance of sustaining the federal investment in research at NIH, NSF, and other science agencies. 
 
The Senate also met briefly last week to swear in 13 new members. Joe Manchin (WV), Chris Coons (DE), and Mark Kirk (IL) are also members of the freshman class but they began their terms in November. As expected, Harry Reid (NV) was re-elected as Majority Leader and Mitch McConnell (KY) formally began another term as the Minority Leader. Senators conducted little other business before beginning a previously announced two-week recess. Senate committee assignments will not be finalized until the chamber returns the week of January 24th.
 
After focusing on routine organizational matters, House members had expected to immediately begin work on their legislative agenda. However, as a result of the violent attack on Representative Gabrielle Giffords (AZ) and her staff during a constituent event in Tucson on January 8th, Speaker Boehner suspended all legislative activity in the House and postponed a planned January 12th vote on repealing the health care reform law. Instead, members of Congress and Capitol Hill staff from both parties came together in a public display of unity to pay tribute to Representative Giffords, as well as those killed and injured in the attack.
 
The House is expected to return to work on January 18th and will resume debate on repealing the health care reform law. Majority Leader Eric Cantor (VA) announced through a spokesman that a final vote is likely to happen by the middle of the week. In addition, more details are expected to be released about a joint meeting of the House and Senate to hear the annual State of the Union address. On January 11th Speaker Boehner formally invited President Obama to deliver the speech to all members of Congress on January 25th
 
In other news from the White House, the release of the President’s fiscal year 2012 budget has been postponed until the week of February 14th. Traditionally the administration’s budget request is made public on the first Monday in February. A White House spokesperson indicated that additional time is needed to finalize the budget in part because of a six-week delay in the approval of Jacob Lew to be the new director of the Office of Management and Budget. Lew was confirmed by the Senate in late November.
 

 


 

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