Murkowski Gets Appropriations Subcommittee Assignments

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today was assigned to five subcommittees of the Senate Appropriations Committee, several of which have major impacts on Alaska.
Murkowski, who joined the appropriations panel in January, was assigned to the following subcommittees: Interior, Environment and Related Agencies; Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies; Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies; Financial Services and General Government; and Legislative Branch, serving as the ranking Republican on that panel.
The Interior-Environment Subcommittee has jurisdiction over a number of federal agencies that play a major role in Alaska, including the Bureau of Land Management, Minerals Management Service, Environmental Protection Agency, Forest Service, Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Indian Health Service and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
“As I told the Alaska Legislature recently, nearly two thirds of the state’s land mass is owned or managed by federal land management agencies. It’s the federal government’s responsibility to maintain these lands which are used by Alaskans year round for hunting, fishing and recreation. These lands also draw more than a million visitors a year. As federal spending grows strained, we must ensure that the federal government upholds its commitment to maintain these lands for the benefit of today’s and future generations,” Murkowski said.
“Many in the Alaskan native communities were concerned when I had to relinquish my position as Vice Chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee to accept the ranking position on the Senate Energy Committee. As a member of the key appropriations subcommittee for federal Indian programs, I will be able to continue my leadership to ensure that the federal government puts its financial resources behind its trust responsibility to Alaska Natives and American Indians.”
With five major Army and Air Force bases in Alaska, membership on the Military Construction-Veterans panel, according to Murkowski, “will allow me to make sure that we properly fund infrastructure at our installations, particularly infrastructure that improves the lives of military families living on the bases.”
“With the presence of the F-22s at Elmendorf Air Force Base, air tankers at Eielson AFB that are responsible for refueling the entire Pacific Theater, the Stryker Brigade at Fort Wainwright, the Airborne Brigade Combat Team at Fort Richardson, missile defense at Fort Greely and our world-class training ranges, it is as clear today as it was to Gen. Billy Mitchell in 1935 that Alaska is the most strategic place in the world,” Murkowski said.
The Military Construction-Veterans Subcommittee also oversees the Department of Veterans’ Affairs budget.
“For the past several years the VA has failed to adequately respond to my concerns that rural Alaska veterans are disenfranchised from receiving their earned veterans’ benefits by reason of their residence in rural Alaska. This position will give me a more influential platform to visit the issue with senior VA leadership.”
The Commerce, Justice and Science Subcommittee will give Murkowski jurisdiction over the Departments of Commerce and Justice as well as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).
“Under the Department of Commerce, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Economic Development Agency (EDA), National Weather Service (NWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) are agencies with key responsibilities in Alaska,” Murkowski said. “The NWS has a large presence in Alaska and while all their missions are important, they are particularly vital for aviation and marine weather forecasts in our state. The NMFS regulates federal fisheries off of Alaska and is responsible for much of the science, management and regulation of the industry, while the EDA has funded more than $150 million in projects in Alaska over the past decade.”
Murkowski said that serving on the Financial Services Subcommittee gives her a seat at the table as Congress wrestles with the ongoing economic crisis.
 “This subcommittee has jurisdiction over the key regulatory agencies that were supposed to have identified and prevented the fraudulent conduct which underpins many of our nation’s current economic difficulties,” Murkowski said. “This is an opportunity to ensure they have the resources they need to do the job and deploy those resources to protect the investing public, including the Alaska Permanent Fund, which is among the nation’s largest institutional investors.”