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Yarmuth Elected To U.S. House Leadership Post

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U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, a Democrat from Louisville, has been elected to be the ranking minority member on the House Budget Committee, putting him in line to chair the powerful committee if Democrats ever take control of the chamber again.

The position will be in the limelight as the committee will likely consider measures to repeal or replace the Affordable Care Act early next year — a concept supported by Republican President-elect Donald Trump and Republican majorities in both the House and the Senate.

Yarmuth said he would use the position to promote Democratic stances on health policy and tax reform.

“We will be able through the debate on that budget to discuss the impact of Republican factions on the American people,” Yarmuth said. “Unlike in prior years when this was basically just kind of an academic exercise because the Republican budget was never going to be approved, this time it will have a real impact on the American people and that’s going to be our responsibility.”

Republicans took control of the House after gaining 63 seats in the 2010 elections but still had to contend with Democratic President Barack Obama’s veto power.

Yarmuth will replace outgoing Maryland Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen, who was elected to the state’s open Senate seat.

California Rep. Nancy Pelosi survived a challenge to her leadership by defeating Rep. Tim Ryan, of Youngstown, Ohio, in a 134-63 secret ballot vote on Wednesday. The challenge was the largest overcome by Pelosi since she became the Democratic leader in 2003.

In his campaign for Democratic leadership, Ryan argued that this year’s elections showed that the party needed someone who better understands blue collar voters. Pelosi is from San Francisco.

Yarmuth said that House Democrats understand the need for change, but that Pelosi was still the best leader to unite the caucus going forward.

“There’s no reason to personalize this to Nancy Pelosi, but there’s still considerable amount of impetus for doing things differently,” he said.

Yarmuth has held Kentucky’s 3rd Congressional district seat since 2007. It was previously held by Republican Rep. Anne Northup.

Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives. He's covered politics and state government for NPR member stations KWBU in Waco and KUT in Austin. He has a bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago and a master's degree in journalism from the University of Texas. He grew up in Lexington.

Email Ryland at
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