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Begich Joins Senate Budget Committee

Senator to Focus on Debt Reduction Measures on Important Panel

Acknowledging U.S. Sen. Mark Begich's continuing efforts to address the federal budget deficit and growing debt, the U.S. Senate approved his appointment to a vacant seat on the Senate Budget Committee, effective Tuesday night, March 9.

Begich joins the Budget Committee with a focus on fiscal responsibility. During his first year in office, he has supported the Senate's adoption of "Pay-Go" rules, Congressional and Presidential efforts to establish a federal debt commission, a Presidential suspension of discretionary spending, and numerous initiatives promoting transparency and efficiency in government spending.

"As a member of the Senate's Deficit Caucus, I am committed to a new era of fiscal responsibility in Congress," Sen. Begich said. "Alaskans expect me to be a responsible steward of their tax dollars. I look forward to advancing the Senate's new 'Pay-Go' rules and promoting transparency in federal spending."

The appointment follows a decision by Sen. Robert Menendez (D - NJ) to leave the Budget Committee for the remainder of the 111th Congress. The 23 member Budget Committee is responsible for drafting Congress' annual budget plan and monitoring action on the budget for the federal government.

The Committee also has jurisdiction over the operation of the Congressional Budget Office, the non-partisan office of Congress that estimates the short-term and long-term effects of legislation and government policy, and is often cited as the "impartial referee" in congressional debates over spending.

Begich retains his current committee memberships and now serves on four committees:

·         Senate Committee on Armed Services
·         Senate Budget Committee
·         Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
·         Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs

As a member of the Budget Committee, Begich will continue efforts to support Alaska. In the FY11 budget submission, due to efforts championed by Sen. Begich last year, funding for Fort Greely was integrated into the federal budget instead of being congressional directed.

"The federal budget addresses many issues and programs important to Alaska. I am eager to participate in discussions about proposed oil and gas taxes, infrastructure development, and continued funding for programs vital to Alaska," Begich said.

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