Rep. John Yarmuth named top Democrat on House Budget Committee, which will play a role in Obamacare debate

Rep. John Yarmuth

Rep. John Yarmuth of Louisville has been named ranking minority member on the House Budget Committee, a panel that will consider repeal and replacement of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Yarmuth has been on the committee for eight years and was elected unanimously to the leadership post by his fellow Democrats.

The committee, which decides on federal spending but doesn’t actually appropriate funds, “will be more relevant in 2017 because Republicans plan to use the budget process to make it easier to pass more controversial legislation affecting spending and taxes,” Mary Troyan reports for USA Today and The Courier-Journal.

“Our responsibility will be to make sure the American people understand the relevance of what they’re doing and how it impacts their lives,” Yarmuth told Troyan. “That’s one of the things that has been somewhat a source of frustration of mine these last few years, that the committee seems to be talking to federal employees and Washington media and not really explaining what impact actions and policies might have on American lives.”

The chairman of the committee, Republican Rep. Tom Price of Georgia, is leaving the post to become Secretary for Health and Human Services under President-elect Donald Trump. He had been a leading critic of “Obamacare.”

Troyan reports, “While Yarmuth predicts the committee will have largely partisan battles over the Affordable Care Act, tax policy and overall spending levels, he said there may be some common ground over other procedural reforms, such as switching to writing budgets that cover two fiscal years instead of one.”

Yarmuth said in a statement, “I believe that budgets are statements of our values, and the Budget Committee provides us the opportunity to show the American people the sharp contrasts between Democratic values and those of Republicans in the House and White House.”

Yarmuth, who is about to start his sixth term, will replace Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, who was elected to the Senate.

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