Pappas, Kuster assigned to key U.S. House committees
MANCHESTER, N.H. —
New Hampshire’s two members of the U.S. House have been assigned to committees with oversight roles addressing transportation, veterans affairs, energy and health care in the 116th Congress.
Freshman U.S. Rep. Chris Pappas said Thursday he has been assigned to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Veterans Affairs Committee. He takes the place of U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster on the Veterans Affairs Committee, continuing a New Hampshire presence on the all-important panel.
Kuster last week announced that in her fourth term, she will serve on the Energy and Commerce Committee. Although she will serve only on that committee, Energy and Commerce has a broad jurisdiction that includes health care, including substance abuse, environmental protection, national energy policy, cybersecurity, and interstate and foreign commerce.
Pappas received assignments on two committees he had sought. He said that transportation and infrastructure is a panel which he expects will work in a more bipartisan manner than is the norm on Capitol Hill in the current divisive atmosphere.
Also Thursday, Pappas said that his office has hired Steven Carlson as staff legislative director. Carlson is a 7-year veteran of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee under former senior committee member Rep. Mike Capuano, D-Massachusetts, who was defeated in a primary by Ayanna Pressley in September.
“I am excited about the committee assignments,” Pappas told WMUR in an interview. “It’s important for me to be serving on committees with roles that are very important to the people of New Hampshire."
Despite the overall partisan discord in Washington, Pappas said, “Both of these committees work incredibly well on a bipartisan basis.”
Pappas said that a comprehensive surface transportation bill is expected to go before the committee this year because current funding expires in 2020.
“The president also wants to bring forward a major transportation funding investment in the nation’s infrastructure,” he said.
The committee also oversees the U.S. Coast Guard, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Transportation, which includes Amtrak and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Pappas said it is important that New Hampshire have continued representation on the Veterans Affairs Committee now that Kuster has moved on to another committee.
“Serving on that committee will allow me to bring attention to individual cases of New Hampshire veterans who need assistants and are frustrated with the VA," Pappas said. "I intend to be a working partner with the leadership of the Manchester VA.
“That leadership has made improvements, but there are additional services that we need to provide, including in-patient hospital services.”
Kuster’s office said the Energy and Commerce Committee has jurisdiction over health care, energy, climate change and the environment, broadband an internet policy and interstate and foreign commerce.
The committee oversees 16 departments and agencies, including the Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, Food and Drug Administration and the homeland security, energy and commerce.
Kuster has been named to three subcommittees: Health, Energy and Oversight and Investigations.
“I’ve heard from people throughout New Hampshire about the need to improve access to affordable, quality health care, address climate change, protect our environment, and expand access to broadband internet,” Kuster said. “I’m excited about the opportunity to … fight for the priorities that are important to New Hampshire communities.”