January 27, 2011

Senators Reed and Whitehouse Gain New Committee Roles

Whitehouse gains Health and Education Committee seat

WASHINGTON, DC- Today, Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse were awarded new committee responsibilities that will benefit Rhode Island’s families and the state’s economy.

Reed will serve on the Appropriations Committee, which approves funding for all domestic and defense discretionary programs totaling over $1 trillion each year, and the Armed Services Committee, which oversees national security policy and defense programs important to Aquidneck Island businesses as well as the Newport Naval Base and the Naval Undersea Warfare Center.  Senator Reed will also serve as the second highest ranking Democrat on the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, which plays a key role in resolving the credit crunch and the foreclosure crisis, and affects Rhode Island’s numerous financial services employers like Bank RI, Fidelity, Amica, and Citizens Bank.  Whitehouse will reassume his seat on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee.

When the Senate formally adopts it organizing resolution in the near future, Senator Reed is expected to be in line to become an Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman.  Based on the Appropriations Committee’s precedents and Sen. Reed’s seniority, Reed is expected to become the first Rhode Island Senator since the late Senator John O. Pastore to chair an Appropriations Subcommittee.  It is most likely that Sen. Reed will serve as Chairman of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee, Reed would author the approximately $30 billion bill that provides funding for the EPA, our National Parks and Forests, as well as the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities.   The Subcommittee covers a number of Rhode Island specific issues such as off-shore wind power, clean water grant programs, the state’s five federal wildlife refuges, and the John H. Chafee Blackstone Valley Heritage Corridor, among other priorities.

Reed is also expected to continue his service as Chairman of the Securities and Insurance Subcommittee of the Banking Committee and the Seapower Subcommittee of the Armed Services Committee.  Reed is likely to be the only Senator to chair three Senate Subcommittees.  Reed will also be one of a handful of Senators to serve on two “Super A” Committees – Appropriations and Armed Services.

In light of these additional duties, Reed will leave the HELP Committee on which he has served for 14 years.  He is pleased that Senate Majority Leader Reid has agreed to appoint Senator Whitehouse to the HELP Committee.

“After 14 years of service on the HELP Committee, I’ve gained great insight into our education and health care challenges, and I’m proud of those accomplishments for our local schools, libraries, universities, and health care.  I plan to use that experience and my service on the Labor, Health, Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee to continue my fight for important Rhode Island health care and education policies.  I am particularly pleased that Senator Whitehouse will once again serve on the HELP Committee.  He will serve our state’s needs well, and he has keen insights into our health care system and improving our schools.”

Senator Whitehouse was asked to serve again on the HELP Committee after serving there during the health care debate in 2009.  The committee has broad jurisdiction over public health, workforce development, education, arts and humanities, and retirement plans.  Whitehouse’s place on the committee will allow him to play a key role in efforts to prepare our workforce for the jobs of the future, ensure a quality education for Rhode Island students, helping Rhode Island continue to lead in building the quality health care system of the future, and protecting the retirement plans of Ocean State seniors.

“Senator Reed has been an invaluable member of the HELP committee for many years, and his leadership will be missed,” said Whitehouse.  “I’ll work hard to keep up his work for Rhode Island: bolstering our education system, strengthening Pell Grants and making college accessible for all Americans, investing in Rhode Island workers, ensuring retirement security, and making our health care system serve the needs of Rhode Islanders.”

Whitehouse will also maintain his positions on the Judiciary Committee, Environment and Public Works Committee, Budget Committee, and Select Committee on Aging.  He will leave his seat on the Intelligence Committee.


Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921