Republican leaders cutting size of House Committees and assigning newcomers to important committees for disability policy

In an effort to cut costs, the incoming Republican leaders in the House announced that they will scale back the size of the Ways and Means Committee (which oversees Social Security, SSI, Medicare, and social services programs) from 41 seats to 37 and the Appropriations Committee from 60 seats to 50. Incoming House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) also stated that House Committees and Members’ office budgets would be cut by 5%. Reductions in the size of House Committees will be felt most acutely by Democratic law makers who are already going to have to give up important committee assignments. In addition, two freshmen Republicans – Diane Black of Tennessee and Rick Berg of North Dakota – are being assigned to the Ways and Means Committee. Ten other freshmen are being recommended by the Republican Steering Committee for assignments to the House Financial Services Committee (which oversees Section 8 and Section 811 housing program for persons with disabilities) and six for the Energy and Commerce Committee (which oversees Medicaid and Developmental Disabilities (DD) Act programs).

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