Cortez Masto named to 6 committees with interest to Nevada

WASHINGTON — Nevada’s newest senator will have a seat on six committees with direct interest to Las Vegas and state issues.

Sen.-elect Catherine Cortez Masto, a Democrat, was assigned Tuesday to the committees for the 115th Congress, which will begin Jan. 3, 2017 with swearing-in of new lawmakers.

Cortez Masto, a former Nevada attorney general, was elected to the seat being vacated by Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid.

She will serve with Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev.

In a statement, Cortez Masto said the assigments will allow her to serve “Nevada’s diverse communities.”

Cortez Masto was assigned to serve on: Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs; Energy and Natural Resources; Rules and Administration; Commerce, Science, and Transportation; Indian Affairs; and the Special Committee on Aging.

Nevada was hard hit by the housing crisis following the Great Recession in 2008. The banking panel has oversight of ongoing legislation and recovery efforts.

The energy panel has oversight of nuclear power and waste. President Barack Obama stopped federal spending on plans to create a nuclear waste depository at Yucca Mountain, about 90 miles north of Las Vegas.

A spokesman for Cortez Masto said the new senator is going to use her position on the energy panel “to make sure that project remains dead.”

During her campaign, Cortez Masto pledged to protect Medicare and Medicaid funding, two programs that have been the target of reform from previous presidential administrations and Congress.

Her seat on the aging panel will help her protect Medicare, she said.

Cortez Masto defeated U.S. Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., in the November general election.

Contact Gary Martin at gmartin@reviewjournal.com. Follow @garymartindc on Twitter.