WASHINGTON — Rep. Mark Amodei won appointment Wednesday to the House Appropriations Committee, a panel that has a voice over how billions of dollars are spent among government agencies.
The Nevada Republican in his second term was named to fill one of three vacancies on the 50-member committee assigned to allocate almost $1 trillion in discretionary spending among hundreds of federal programs.
Amodei said in an interview he was intrigued with having oversight on how federal agencies spend money they are given by Congress, and he made that part of his pitch to House Speaker John Boehner and other GOP leaders.
He said he also said that there were few representatives from the Intermountain West on the committee. “Not that I thought we were going to be provincial, but I thought it important to have some of these voices on it,” he said.
Because Appropriations is considered a top-tier committee, Amodei is required to drop his present assignments. Those include the Natural Resources Committee, from where he has been active on water, mining, energy and public land issues affecting his rural Northern Nevada district.
To compensate, Amodei said he asked to be named to the Appropriations subcommittee on the Interior, which handles the same topics, and he was told that was likely.
“I expect to be even deeper in those issues,” Amodei said. “I will be dealing with the Interior Department on the basis of their budget and be able to draw direct lines from what they are asking for appropriations and what they are doing in Nevada.”
Amodei also is leaving the Veterans Affairs Committee and the Judiciary Committee, where he played a role in the panel’s work on immigration bills.
Tthe powers of the Appropriations Committee have been somewhat muted in recent years as a gridlocked Congress has been unable to pass many spending bills.
Instead, lawmakers have kept the government running through continuing resolutions in which changes in spending priorities have been kept to a minimum.
“Obviously the hope is we return to some semblance of regular order,” Amodei said. “The committee is at its most significant when you are doing the 12 appropriations bills.”
Amodei would become the first Nevada House member to sit on the Appropriations Committee since the late Rep. Barbara Vucanovich. She was on the panel from 1991 to 1996.
Besides Amodei, Republican leaders named Reps. Chris Stewart of Utah and Martha Roby of Alabama to the committee.
Contact Stephens Washington Bureau Chief Steve Tetreault at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-783-1760. Follow him on Twitter @STetreaultDC.