Heading into his second term as District 10’s representative, Congressman Josh Harder will serve on one of the most powerful House committees after being appointed by his colleagues last week.
Harder’s fellow representatives on the House Steering and Policy Committee appointed him to the House Appropriations Committee on Dec. 18, making the Turlock native the first Democratic member of Congress from the Central Valley to serve there in almost 50 years. According to a release from Harder’s office, the Congressman plans on using his new role to advocate for more federal support for water infrastructure, healthcare, agriculture and other Valley priorities.
“The Valley is always left behind – especially when it comes to funding decisions – and part of the problem is we haven’t had an advocate on the funding committee in decades,” Harder said in a statement. “This new position is an honor and it will give me more opportunities to fight directly for the investments we need here at home. My job in Washington is to remind people there’s more to California than just San Francisco and Los Angeles, and that kind of perspective is needed on the Appropriations Committee.”
The Appropriations Committee has one of the broadest jurisdictions of any committee in Congress and is responsible for drafting all funding legislation in the House, appropriating those funds for most of the functions of the federal government. In the current 116th Congress, the Appropriations Committee has 12 subcommittees that each have jurisdiction over a specific part of the federal government.
Through the 12 appropriations bills that the Appropriations Committee considers each year, members work to prioritize good schools, robust job training, affordable higher education, quality health care and better infrastructure.
In addition to his position on the Appropriations Committee Harder will seek to continue his service on the House Committee on Agriculture to which he was first appointed in 2019. Harder also served on the House Education and Labor Committee during his first term.
Committees play in an important role in the legislative process, providing members the opportunity to study, debate and amend bills. Representatives seeking assignment to a specific committee author request letters, which typically include justifications relevant to the committee like prior professional experience, district demographics and geography.
On the Agriculture Committee, Harder previously served as a voice for the Valley while discussing bills that address the country’s diverse needs when it comes to ag. Different regions have varying products, climates and experiences, but the ultimate goal of the committee is ensuring federal policies empower American farmers and helps them meet 21st century needs, such as conservation, food safety, technological innovation and keeping pace with an increasingly globalized economy.
The committee also oversees a wide range of issues including agricultural research and development, renewable energy, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, rural development, crop insurance, international trade, futures market regulation, animal and plant health, bioterrorism, forestry and other vital issues.
Agriculture is one of the driving forces behind District 10’s economy and serving on the committee would allow him to once again be a leader on the topic. In 2017, Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties produced over $8.7 billion in agricultural commodities, and the agriculture sector supported over a third of all jobs in Stanislaus County alone.
As an alternative to his regular office hours during the coronavirus pandemic, Harder hosted virtual one-on-one meetings with constituents this week. For more information, including office hours, locations and future virtual events, visit www.harder.house.gov.