U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan had his eye on returning to the powerful House Appropriations Committee well before he was re-elected last month to his sixth two-year term in Congress.
Now that he’s been officially appointed to the committee, effective next month, Ryan, of Niles, D-17th, says he is optimistic the position will prove to be beneficial to the Mahoning Valley’s efforts to obtain federal dollars for important economic-development programs.
Also, Ryan said having a seat on the committee “will have some impact” on a potential 2014 gubernatorial bid, making it less likely he’d leave Congress to run for that position.
“I haven’t ruled anything out,” he said. “We’ll let this thing play out, and I’ll make a decision in the near future.”
Ryan expects to decide by early next year and acknowledged Wednesday that he hasn’t given a potential gubernatorial run “a whole lot of thought.”
Ryan said he’ll be able to coordinate efforts with U.S. Rep.-elect David Joyce, a Republican from Russell Township whose district includes northern Trumbull County and who will also be on the Appropriations committee, to fund worthwhile projects in Northeast Ohio. That includes the $70 million National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, based in downtown Youngstown.
Ryan’s district includes most of Trumbull and Mahoning counties as well as portions of Summit, Portage and Stark counties.
“Having the two [political] parties working together is great for our area,” Ryan said.
Republicans banned earmarks when they took control of the House in January 2011, which took some of the prestige away from sitting on Appropriations. But some Republicans are looking to lift that ban.
“There’s still a lot of money invested by the federal government,” Ryan said.
The committee has jurisdiction of more than $1.047 trillion of federal funds.
Ryan lost his seat on Appropriations in January 2011 after Republicans took over the House and lowered the number of Democrats on the committee from 37 to 21. Ryan had served four years on Appropriations.
Seats on most House committees are based on seniority, and Ryan was the 23rd-most-senior Democrat on it when Republicans made the reduction. Enough Democrats left the House to move Ryan up the seniority ladder and back on to the committee.
Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat from Avon, is giving up his Senate Appropriations Committee seat to join the Senate Finance Committee. The latter has jurisdiction over trade and tax policies as well as health programs.
“My biggest priority is to help build the middle class, and this committee provides a great opportunity to do so: from ensuring a fair tax code, to standing up for Ohio’s manufacturers and workers when it comes to foreign trade, to protecting Social Security and Medicare,” Brown said.
He will remain on the Senate’s Veterans; Agriculture; and Banking committees.