Yarmuth becomes third Kentuckian appointed to U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee

09/17/2013 06:21 PM

U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth of Louisville will join Kentucky Republican Congressmen Ed Whitfield and Brett Guthrie on the powerful U.S. House committee that oversees coal and energy issues, the Affordable Care Act and health care and telecom and cybersecurity issues.

Yarmuth, Kentucky’s lone Democrat in the federal delegation, will replace Democrat Ed Markey of Massachusetts on the panel after Markey won a special election for the U.S. Senate in June.

Yarmuth said the move “will give me a greater opportunity to help oversee implementation of the Affordable Care Act and ensure every American has access to affordable health care.

“And I will be better positioned to advance federal programs that support the revitalization of manufacturing in Louisville and create new jobs for local residents,” he said in a statement.

Advanced manufacturing is a part of the committee’s jurisdiction, and it has been playing an increasingly vital role in Louisville’s economy. The federal Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Incentive Program, for instance, loaned Ford Motor Company $5.9 billion in 2009 to support the development of energy-efficient vehicles, which led to the company to invest $600 million to retool the Ford Assembly Plant in Louisville.

And the appointment, which is subject to the approval of the Democratic House Caucus, could set up epic debates between Yarmuth — a supporter of the Affordable Care Act and a critic of the environmental effects of certain mining practices — with conservatives, such as Whitfield and Guthrie. Whitfield chairs the energy and power subcommittee and frequently criticizes the Obama administration’s energy policies.

Yarmuth formerly served on the House Ways and Means Committee, which crafted the Affordable Care Act. He currently serves on the budget and education committees.

Yarmuth’s Democratic colleagues on the energy and commerce committee cheered his arrival in a statement Tuesday night.

“John has been a tireless advocate of health care for all Americans and is committed to ensuring the successful implementation of the Affordable Care Act,” said Rep. Henry Waxman of California, who is the ranking Democrat on the committee. “He is also a strong supporter of clean energy technologies that will move our country toward energy independence.”


Subscribe to email updates.

Subscribe and get the latest political intelligence delivered to your inbox.