Rep. Jo Ann Emerson tapped to head subcommittee for D.C. appropriations
Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.) has been named chairwoman of the appropriations subcommittee that handles the District budget, a widely expected move that will make her a leading congressional voice on D.C. issues.
Emerson will head the subcommittee on financial services, which also has jurisdiction over federal funding for D.C. The position will give her a key role in determining whether House Republicans use the appropriations process to attach controversial "riders" to the District budget on issues such as gay marriage, medical marijuana and needle exchange programs.
Emerson was the ranking Republican on the same subcommittee in the last Congress. Democrats have yet to announce their appropriations subcommittee picks, but there is a good chance that Rep. Jose E. Serrano (N.Y.) -- chairman of the financial services panel in the last Congress -- will simply swap places with Emerson and become the ranking Democrat.
Emerson won't be the only Republican chair handling D.C. issues. The Oversight and Government Reform Committee is in the midst of a reorganization, and Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has yet to announce who will head that panel's subcommittee on D.C. matters. The chairman of that panel -- the selection of whom will be announced next week -- will likely be a freshman Republican, whereas Emerson has served in the House since 1995.
Emerson has compiled a relatively moderate voting record compared to many of her Republican colleagues. She has backed some efforts in the past to attach riders to D.C. bills -- including a prohibition on spending money to implement a law permitting the use of medical marijuana -- but she has also been generally supportive of the idea that the District should be able to manage itself without interference from the Hill.
Though she represents Missouri, Emerson was born in the District and grew up in Bethesda. Her father was a Republican National Committee official.
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