U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler (D) of North Carolina’s District 11 has been appointed to the powerful House Budget Committee, which is responsible for setting federal spending priorities and proposing an annual federal budget for the country, according to a press release today from the congressman’s office.
“The Budget Committee in the 112th Congress will play a pivotal role in setting the fiscal course of our nation for next two years and, hopefully, for years to come. I look forward to using my position on the Committee to find common ground between Republicans and Democrats to balance our budget, cut wasteful spending, and restore fiscal discipline and restraint in Washington,” Shuler said in a press release about his appointment. “Balancing our budget will not be simple or easy, and cannot be done by just one political party,” he added. “We must work in a bipartisan fashion to craft a balanced budget that invests in our future and keep taxes low. I look forward to getting to work immediately with my Budget Committee colleagues on both sides of the aisle to protect America’s fiscal and economic security.”
Meanwhile, in legislative action, Shuler introduced a bill on Jan. 26 aimed at reforming the congressional redistricting process. According to his website, the Fairness and Independence in Redistricting Act, H.R. 453, would “require states to establish an independent, bipartisan commission to redraw congressional district lines every 10 years following the decennial census,” with an equal number of commissioners appointed by the minority and majority floor leaders in each state’s legislatures. The legislation, which would not be effective until the 2020 redistricting, would require “geographical contiguity and compactness of district, rather than political affiliations and the impact redistricting will have on incumbent representatives, as criteria for redrawing district lines.” A companion bill (H.R. 453) was introduced by Tennesse’s Rep. Jim Cooper (D), District 5. Titled the Redistricting Transparency Act, the act would require that all proposed redistricting plans be made available online for review and public comment prior to their adoption.
by Nelda Holder, contributing editor