PASCRELL ASSIGNED TO TWO KEY ROLES ON POWERFUL WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE
-U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-08) was today formally selected by his Democratic colleagues on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee to serve in key roles on both the Subcommittee on Trade and the Subcommittee on Oversight.
"These assignments will empower me to influence the flawed trade practices that have outsourced America's manufacturing base, and reinvigorate Congress' commitment to real oversight. I look forward to working with Chairman Rangel to pursue a new agenda on the Ways and Means Committee."
The Subcommittee on Trade has jurisdiction over all trade-related issues involving market access, competitive conditions of specific industries, export policy and promotion, trade relations with developing countries, operations of multinational corporations, and trade with nonmarket economies. It will also deal with all federal matters that relate to import practices, trade agreements, and budget authorizations within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. International Trade Commission, and the U.S. Trade Representative.
Pascrell, who has led opposition to various international trade bills in Congress, including CAFTA, was also a staunch opponent of fast track' legislation that was approved by Congress in 2002. The legislation gave the President authority to negotiate international trade agreements without input from Congress. Fast track' legislation expires in 2007.
"My top priority on the Trade Subcommittee is to reform the fast track process that has allowed the executive branch to railroad flawed international trade agreements through Congress. Congress has abandoned its responsibility to regulate foreign trade under Article 1, Section 8 of the United States Constitution. I am committed to ensuring that as we move forward, the Congress plays a strong role in the formulation and negotiation of trade agreements. Our nation's trade policy must serve the public interest instead of special interests."
The Subcommittee on Oversight will work on all matters within the scope of the full Committee's jurisdiction, including but not limited to economic policy, health care policy, social security, the earned income tax credit, pensions, tax scams, and trade. The subcommittee will conduct investigations and hold hearings on a various matters as they relate to the Ways and Means Committee's jurisdiction.
"Congress has been asleep at the wheel while this administration has continuously made wasteful, fraudulent, and fiscally irresponsible decisions without scrutiny or question from the legislative branch. In one shameful example, the Administration pushed a prescription drug bill through Congress that will cost American taxpayers double the $534 billion price tag that was narrowly approved in Congress. Those days are gone. I am ready to play an active role in serving the American people by returning accountability and transparency to the workings of this federal government."
Created in 1789, Ways and Means is the oldest standing Committee in Congress. Due to its broad jurisdiction on critical issues - involving economic policy, international trade, welfare, Social Security, Medicare and health care policy - the committee occupies a pivotal place in the House Committee system. In addition to legislating, the Committee exercises broad oversight authority in all these areas.
Pascrell is the first Representative from New Jersey to serve on the Ways and Means committee since 1996 when Republican Rep. Dick Zimmer served for one term. U.S. Rep. Frank Guarini was the last Democrat to serve on the committee. His tenure ended in 1992.
"I am honored to join the exclusive ranks of the House Ways and Means Committee. The pocketbook issues that affect New Jersey's residents will finally be represented in Congress' longest standing committee. I am proud to be able to bring Garden State values back to this influential body."