Kentucky Third District Congressman John Yarmuth is joining the influential House Committee on Energy and Commerce, which puts the Democratic lawmaker in the middle of key debates including implementing President Obama’s health care law.
Yarmuth voted for Obamacare, and has been its lone defender in Kentucky’s federal delegation, often serving fact-checker to his congressional colleagues.
He will join congressmen Ed Whitfield and Brett Guthrie, who are both Republicans.
The panel also has jurisdiction over environmental, energy, cyber-security and consumer protection policy.
The congressman’s office points out manufacturing is also under the committee’s purview, which is important to the Louisville economy.
In 2009, Ford Motor Company received a $5.9 billion loan through the federal Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Incentive Program, which supports the development of energy-efficient vehicles.
That allowed the company to invest $600 million to retool the assembly plant in Louisville, which has added more than 3,000 jobs recently.
“Good jobs and financial security are cornerstones of a strong society, and as a new member of the Committee, I look forward to being at the forefront of policy debates that are so critical to the future of our country,” Yarmuth said.
The mid-term assignment for Yarmuth is due to a vacancy left by former Congressman Ed Markey of Massachusettss, who was recently elected to the U.S. Senate.
But the decision by House Democratic leaders to elevate the fourth-term Kentucky congressman is also based on his defense of the health care law and other issues.
“Congressman Yarmuth’s leadership has earned him the respect of colleagues and the trust of his constituents,” Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. “From stopping mountaintop removal mining in Kentucky to leading the charge to implement the Affordable Care Act, from advocating for advanced manufacturing in Louisville to building a sustainable future nationwide, he brings an unyielding determination to the task of protecting America’s environment, securing affordable health care for all, and promoting the clean energy jobs of tomorrow.”
Energy and Commerce is considered an “exclusive” committees in Washington, meaning lawmakers typically serve on no other committees.
A Yarmuth spokesman says the congressman will continue to serve on the Budget Committee, however.