Southeast Texas will have representation on U.S. House committees overseeing space, foreign affairs and transportation in the two-year lawmaking term that began this month.
Proposed bills flow through committees before the full House takes them up, giving committee members early and influential say into what ideas deserve full consideration. Both Southeast Texas representatives are Republicans, which as the majority party in the House will have the majority on each committee.
Rep. Randy Weber, whose district includes Jefferson County, was elevated to chairman of the Energy Subcommittee for the House's Science,Space and Technology Committee, the highest leadership post held by a local representative.
Lifting a decades-old ban on crude oil exports, regulating companies' ability to export liquefied natural gas and setting policies for producing onshore and offshore fossil fuels are among the many energy issues simmering.
Lawmakers also face an economic reality that is seeing the rig count and job numbers plummet as a worldwide energy production glut has sharply driven down crude oil prices.
Over foreign affairs, Weber will serve on subcommittees on the Middle East and North Africa and on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats.
"It is extremely important that America has a strong foreign policy throughout the world, especially as we continue the fight against terrorism in cooperation with our allies in Europe and the Middle East," Weber said in a prepared statement.
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