WASHINGTON — Sen. Ben Sasse has landed a seat on the powerful Senate Finance Committee.
That panel has sweeping jurisdiction over trade policy, tax structure and health programs covered under the Social Security Act such as Medicare and Medicaid.
“This is an incredible opportunity to work on some big issues that hit home for our state,” Sasse said in a press release. “Our farmers and ranchers depend on trade to feed the world, and now Nebraska has a seat at the Senate’s most powerful trade committee. Trade, tax, and health policy matter to moms and dads who work hard to give their kids the best shot they can.”
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Sasse will continue to serve on the Intelligence, Judiciary and Banking Committees.
Committee assignments may seem like a prosaic affair, but Sasse critics have sought to make political hay out of his earlier decision to give up a spot on the Senate Agriculture Committee in order to secure his seat on Judiciary.
That left the Agriculture Committee without a Nebraskan for the first time in decades, although Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., later joined the committee.
Sasse is up for reelection in 2020, and the Finance seat will help him argue that he’s traded up to a perch on the most powerful committee in the Senate, one that will benefit Nebraska’s agricultural producers.
Sasse said he’s the first Nebraska Republican to serve on the Finance Committee since the 1970s, although then-Sen. Bob Kerrey, D-Neb., served on it in the late 1990s.