Jan 17 2011
By Craig Gilbert
Senate Republican Ron Johnson's new committee assignments are: appropriations; budget; homeland security and governmental affairs; and aging, it was announced Thursday.
In an interview in early January, Johnson had expressed interest in both appropriations and budget. He said Thursday that he had also requested the committee on homeland security and governmental affairs, which deals with national security issues as well as having broad oversight responsiblities.
"What I asked leadership and conveyed to them was my desire to learn as quickly as possible and on as broad a range of topics as possible. I'm pleased that I got the ones I was asking for," Johnson said.
Johnson is one of six GOP freshmen on approriations, a committee that historically was a sought-after assignment because it allowed members to direct spending to their home states. But Johnson, who got elected on a message of smaller government and less spending, said he was advised by his Senate mentor Tom Coburn of Oklahoma that appropriations was a good place to pursue an agenda of spending cuts.
"I think appropriations gives you a broad overview of what the government is spending money on and hopefully you have influence in controlling that," said Johnson in an interview, saying his agenda on the panel is to "not spend money."
On the aging committee, Johnson will serve under fellow Wisconsinite Herb Kohl, who chairs that committee.
Kohl also serves on appropriations, meaning both Wisconsin senators will serve on both the appropriations and aging panels.