By TODD STACY, Alabama Daily News
U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville secured seats on his top preferred committees based on his stated priorities from the campaign and transition, his office announced Wednesday.
Tuberville will serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee; the Health Education Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee; and the Veterans Affairs committees.
The announcement came just hours after Wednesday’s power sharing agreement between Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, which ensures equal committee representation for Republicans and Democrats. Assignments couldn’t be made until that agreement was in place.
“This power-sharing agreement is almost identical to the 2001 agreement and will allow the Senate to be fairly run as an evenly-split body,” McConnell said while engaging in a colloquy with Schumer on the Senate floor.
Armed Services is the biggest win for Tuberville, given its status as a “Super A” or preferred committee and jurisdiction over military spending and policy. Alabama is home to many military bases, programs and contractors, making a seat on Armed Services highly valuable to the state’s congressional delegation. In the House, Reps. Mike Rogers, Mo Brooks and Jerry Carl serve on its Armed Services Committee, with Rogers being the highest ranking Republican.
“I am honored to be selected to serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee and represent the nearly half a million active-duty military, National Guard, reservists, and veterans who call Alabama home,” Tuberville said in a release.
“Alabama is home to many important installations including Maxwell Air Force Base, Ft. Rucker, Redstone Arsenal, Anniston Army Depot, and Dannelly Field. Each location serves a unique and critical purpose from securing our skies to ensuring our safety at sea. Additionally, the Port of Mobile is central to our maritime defense and shipbuilding industry, and Huntsville, where Space Command will soon call home, leads the nation in the development of aerospace defense through surveillance and rocket programs.”
Agriculture is also a long-stated priority for Tuberville. In fact, it was the support from the state’s agriculture community, specifically the Alabama Farmers Federation, that bolstered the former Auburn coach’s campaign early in the Republican primary for Senate.
The agriculture and nutrition policy set by Congress has a big impact on farmers nationwide, and Alabama’s delegation has to go to bat on behalf of the state’s producers during Farm Bill negotiations. The Farm Bill is set to be reauthorized in 2023, but preliminary negotiations will begin much sooner than that.
“As we look towards the next Farm Bill, the coming years will be critical to lay the foundation for key initiatives including rural development and broadband, trade, and forestry programs to benefit Alabama’s farmers both today and in the future,” Tuberville said of the committee appointment. “I am thankful to have a seat at the table on a committee that is so important to folks back home, and Alabama’s rural communities can rest assured I’ll be a strong voice for them in Washington.”
During the campaign, Tuberville frequently discussed how his father’s service in the military during World War II was instrumental in driving him to seek public office. He would often relate that to his desire to do more for veterans in the Senate.
He will now get that chance as a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee. Inside Alabama Politics previously predicted that this assignment might be a particularly good fit for Tuberville, given his interest in veterans, the bipartisan nature of the committee work and the potential to frequently help individual constituents.
The Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, better known as HELP, has a wide ranging jurisdiction, including health, education and labor policy. Any health care proposals pursued by the Biden administration must pass through this committee. Also, Tuberville will have a seat at the table for the reauthorization of the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA, which is the nation’s education policy law. It is set to be reauthorized next year.