Reed, Whitehouse both committee chairs

For the first time in the 21st century, Rhode Island has the chairmanship of two full committees in the U.S. Senate.

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, a Jamestown resident who has represented Rhode Island in Congress since 1991, will retain his role as chairman of the Armed Services Committee. His colleague in the upper chamber, Sheldon Whitehouse, has been appointed chairman of the Budget Committee. This marks the first time since 1995 both Rhode Island senators simultaneously will hold the gavel on full committees. It last happened when John Chafee led the Committee on Environment and Public Works and Claiborne Pell served as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.

Reed’s full slate of assignments for the 118th Congress includes serving on four ‘A’ committees: Armed Services, Appropriations, Intelligence and Banking. Armed Services and Appropriations are two of the three ‘Super A’ committees. Reed also will retain the gavel as chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch, which controls spending for Congress’ operations.

“My committee assignments help me deliver positive results for Rhode Island, safeguard the nation, expand economic opportunity and build a brighter future for all Americans,” he said. “As Congress grapples with a range of complex challenges and opportunities, I will do everything in my power to strengthen our economy, lower prices for working families and ensure Rhode Islanders’ needs are met. I will continue to be a relentless advocate for our state and focus on the issues that Rhode Islanders care about.”

As chairman of Armed Services, Reed will lead a committee responsible for overseeing the U.S. Department of Defense, which is the largest federal agency and the world’s largest employer with nearly 3.4 million employees.

By virtue of this chairmanship, Reed also is an ex officio member of the Select Committee on Intelligence, which entails classified closed-door sessions. The president of the United States is required by law to ensure the committee is kept “fully and currently informed” of intelligence activities, including covert actions.

Reed also has become the fourth most senior member of the Appropriations Committee, which controls the money for the federal government.

Now in his fifth term of service in the U.S. Senate, Reed has accrued the seventh most seniority in the chamber. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1991-97 before winning a seat in the Senate.