MONTGOMERY, Ala. – For decades, Alabama’s U.S. Senate delegation was thought to be where most of the state’s power resided in Washington.
That was thanks to former Sen. Richard Shelby’s 36 year tenure in the Senate, including his ascent to the top of the Appropriations Committee, as well as former Sen. Jeff Sessions’ 20 years of seniority in the upper chamber.
Now that paradigm has shifted to the other side of the Capitol, where Alabama’s House members have secured key committee and leadership posts that wield significant influence.
At the top of the list is Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Saks, who this week was officially named chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. With several active military installations and National Guard missions as well as dozens of defense industry contractors, the U.S. military has a large footprint in Alabama. Congress’ armed services committee has jurisdiction over the range of policies and programs in the Department of Defense and, as chairman, Rogers will play a leading role in setting those.
“Alabama has always played a critical role in supporting our national security. As the first congressman from Alabama to serve as chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, I look forward to continuing that legacy,” Rogers said in a statement. “Our nation faces unprecedented threats from China, Russia, North Korea and Iran. In order to deter these threats and remain the most feared force in the world — we must ensure that our military focuses on lethality and capability. Over the next two years, the House Armed Services Committee will provide our warfighters with the resources and weapons they need to deter and, if necessary, defeat any adversary anywhere in the world.”
Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Haleyville, continues to climb the ladder at the House Appropriations Committee and has been named chairman of the subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies. Being an appropriations “cardinal” is always influential, but this subcommittee is of specific importance to Alabama considering the biomedical research going on in Birmingham, Huntsville and Mobile. Should Republicans maintain their majority into 2025, and adhere to conference rules, Aderholt is next in line to become chairman of the full House Appropriations Committee, one of the most influential positions in all of Washington.
“The Labor, Health and Human Services & Education subcommittee is responsible for the largest pool of non-defense government spending in the entire federal budget, and with that, comes the commitment to renewed oversight and fiscal responsibility as we move into the Fiscal Year 24 Appropriations cycle,” Aderholt said in a statement.
Also scoring a spot on the House Appropriations Committee is second term Rep. Jerry Carl, R-Mobile. Carl made his ambitions for appropriations known on a recent appearance on Capitol Journal, and expressed his gratitude to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in a statement.
“I’m honored to be nominated to serve on the House Appropriations Committee for the 118th Congress, where I can best fight for the values and the needs of south Alabama,” Carl said. “The Appropriations Committee is responsible for all federal funding, and I take seriously the ability to cut wasteful spending while ensuring our military is properly funded and our tax dollars are spent wisely. This is a huge win for our district and our state, and I’m excited to work with Chairwoman Kay Granger and my colleagues on the committee to deliver wins for south Alabama and our entire nation.”
Alabama’s lone congressional Democrat, Rep. Terri Sewell of Selma, will retain her position as chief deputy whip within the Democratic Caucus. Sewell is no stranger to the minority party, having served in the Republican-controlled House from 2011-2018. During both the Obama and Biden presidencies, Sewell has enjoyed a close relationship with the White House, which she often leverages for the benefit of her district and state. Full committee slates haven’t been announced yet, but she is expected to keep her coveted spot on the House Ways and Means Committee, which writes the nation’s tax policy.
“It is with great pride that I accept the honor of serving as a Chief Deputy Whip under the leadership of Democratic Whip Katherine Clark for the 118th Congress,” Sewell said in a statement. “I look forward to working alongside House Democrats’ strong and dynamic new leadership team to protect our progress, further strengthen our economy, and advance the needs of America’s working families. I am confident that working together, we can continue to deliver lower prices, safer communities, and more opportunities for communities in Alabama and across our nation.”
Rep. Gary Palmer, R-Birmingham, will again serve as chairman of the House GOP Policy Committee, which gives him a spot at the table within the House leadership. Palmer will also retain his sought-after position on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over all national health care and energy policy. He’ll also serve on the House Oversight and Governmental Reform Committee, which is known for conducting investigations into the Executive Branch, especially when the president is in a different party.
“Now more than ever, the American people want Republicans in the House to hold the Biden administration accountable for its actions that have undermined the integrity of the executive branch. Left unchecked, this administration will abuse the rights of Americans,” Palmer said in a statement. “It is up to Republicans on the Committee on Oversight and Accountability to shine a light on what this administration is hiding in the dark.”
Rep. Barry Moore, R-Enterprise, earned a feather in his congressional hat landing a spot on the House Judiciary Committee. In addition to having jurisdiction over the nation’s criminal statutes, this committee has oversight over the Department of Justice and all its subsidiary departments, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
“It is a great and humbling honor to be appointed to serve on the prestigious House Judiciary Committee and serve alongside my friend and our chairman, Jim Jordan, to defend our foundational American freedoms,” Moore said. “The Judiciary Committee will be the tip of the spear this Congress, fighting to ensure that the American people’s government works to protect their civil liberties, not undermine them to advance a political agenda. With President Biden in the White House we have a big task ahead, but I’m ready to get to work.”
Alabama’s newest delegation member, Rep. Dale Strong, R-Huntsville, has landed his top pick on the House Armed Services Committee. According to his office, Strong is one of ten new congressmen nominated by the House Republican Steering Committee to serve on Armed Services. Alabama’s fifth district includes Redstone Arsenal and a host of defense industries.
“Alabama is home to many military equities, but the Fifth district is especially proud to host
Redstone Arsenal. From the Army Material Command, aviation and missile programs, and the Missile Defense Agency, Redstone is critical for America’s national defense,” Strong said in a statement. “I am thankful for the confidence placed in me by my constituents and Chairman Mike Rogers. I look forward to continuing to showcase Alabama’s innovation and ingenuity through my role on this committee.”