January 09, 2019

Watson Coleman Nominated to Sought-after, Exclusive Appropriations Committee

As she begins her third term in the House of Representatives, Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) has been nominated by the Democratic Steering Committee to serve on the House Appropriations Committee, one of the most powerful committees in the House, responsible for setting funding levels for federal departments and agencies.

“The decisions made in the Appropriations Committee are a direct representation of our national values,” said Watson Coleman. “What we find important becomes evident in the choice between purchasing more military equipment or adequately funding the EPA inspectors that ensure our communities have clean water and air, and whether we repair our roads and invest in infrastructure or pay for grants for oil and gas companies to find new ways to drill and damage our environment.”

“In joining this committee, I will continue to fight for the values my constituents elected me to represent — the needs of working families, the protection of our environment, and policies that advance fair economic growth. I look forward to working with my colleagues to achieve these goals in the 116th Congress.”

The Appropriations Committee wields the constitutional “power of the purse,” and is responsible for annual spending legislation that sets the budgets of federal agencies and programs. While spending bills must pass both the House and Senate, they are first drafted and approved in the House. The committee is also among the “exclusive” committees of the House, requiring its members to request a special waiver to serve on any other committee.

“House Appropriations is one of the most storied and vital committees in all of Congress. Bonnie Watson Coleman’s appointment to the panel is a recognition by her colleagues of her importance in the caucus, her work ethic, and her dedication,” Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-NJ), a member of the Steering Committee. “New Jersey always has to work extra hard for support in Washington, but Bonnie will be a champion for us to make sure the Garden State is getting its fair share, something extra important as the Gateway Project takes shape. I was proud to nominate Bonnie before the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, and I’m even prouder to serve with her.”

“Bonnie’s commitment to New Jersey is steadfast, her experience in the nuance of appropriations is proven, and her mission to uphold values in every vote she takes is a testament to the kind of leader she is,” said New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. “Having her on the appropriations committee is a win for our state in a big way. New Jersey needs someone who will fight to make sure we get a fair share of federal dollars. There’s no one better for the job than Bonnie.”

Watson Coleman would join the Appropriations Committee with a uniquely experienced background, having served as Chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee while in the New Jersey General Assembly. She would be the first woman ever to serve on the Committee from the state of New Jersey, and would be just the fifth African American woman.

With the retirement of Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), who had chaired the committee for the past two years, Watson Coleman would be the only federal appropriator from New Jersey in either party, one of the most populous states in the country and one that receives less than one dollar in federal spending and assistance for every dollar paid by residents in taxes. As paths to funding vital regional infrastructure like the Gateway project remain under discussion, Watson Coleman’s appointment would ensure New Jersey’s interests are represented in federal appropriations bills.

Watson Coleman received unanimous support to be appointed to the committee from every Democrat in the regional delegation, which includes Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.