U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler will stay on the Small Business Committee while also serving on the powerful and highly demanding Appropriations Committee, which handles federal discretionary spending.
Typically, when House members are named to the Appropriations Committee, they must leave behind all other committee assignments. But they may receive a waiver that allows them to remain on other committees if it's believed that they would be able to handle the workload.
Such a special waiver will allow Herrera Beutler to keep a focus on job creation, one of her priorities in Congress, she said.
"For me, it's just been really helpful to learn what is and what is not working when it comes to small businesses and their ability to grow," Herrera Beutler said by phone on Monday. When it comes to job creation, "we've got a long way to go. … Statistics show most of the jobs in the last seven years come from small businesses."
The waiver request was made by the Small Business Committee, which is
chaired by Missouri Republican Sam Graves. The House Republican Steering Committee approved the request.
Meanwhile, Herrera Beutler will be the only House member from Washington state on the Appropriations Committee. Former appropriations committeeman Norm Dicks, a Democrat from Bremerton, retired at the end of last year. In the other chamber, Washington is represented on the Senate Appropriations Committee by Democrat Patty Murray, who also chairs its transportation subcommittee.
Herrera Beutler has said her overall goals on the discretionary spending committee will include curbing government excess and making sure Southwest Washington's priorities get the money they need. She also said she sees serving on the spending committee as a chance to be involved in the Columbia River Crossing project as it enters its next phase.
The $3.5 billion megaproject to replace the Interstate 5 Bridge has yet to secure necessary funding. Herrera Beutler recently announced that she wants to see the bridge project redesigned to exclude light rail, even though light rail is seen by CRC proponents as a crucial part of getting a key federal grant.
Herrera Beutler learned late last week about being granted the waiver that allows her to serve on multiple committees, her spokesman, Casey Bowman said. She has yet to discover which of the 12 Appropriations subcommittees she will serve on. Those subcommittees include areas such as transportation, energy, defense and health care.
"We're waiting with bated breath," Herrera Beutler said, adding that she should know by some time next week.
Herrera Beutler, 34, will be just one of a few first- and second-term lawmakers on the 50-person House Appropriations Committee. Of those 50 members, at least 10 others serve on committees besides Appropriations.