Murphy poised to make case for Connecticut

By:  Dan Freedman
Stamford Advocate

WASHINGTON -- The federal budget may be lean, but if there's bacon to be brought home to Connecticut, Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., says he's now in a good position to bring it.

Murphy announced on Thursday he has been appointed to five key Senate Appropriations subcommittees charged with doling out money in areas such as transportation, veterans health, military infrastructure and federal law enforcement.

"I fought for a seat on the Appropriations Committee so I could bring more money back to Connecticut to build roads, create jobs, and help the middle class,'' Murphy said in a statement. "These subcommittee assignments will put me in a position to fight for projects like the improvement and expansion of Metro-North, the modernization of our veterans facilities, and increasing the availability of affordable housing.''

This is Murphy's first year on the Senate Appropriations Committee, a perch for which lawmakers compete intensely because it provides easier access to federal largesse for home-state interests.

The subcommittees Murphy will join include transportation, housing and urban development, which covers all railroad and urban housing funds; military construction and veterans affairs, responsible for spending on military installations and the Department of Veterans Affairs; and state and foreign operations, with jurisdiction over the State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Export-Import Bank and the Peace Corps.

Murphy already is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where on Wednesday he was named senior Democrat on the subcommittee overseeing the Middle East, South Asia, Central Asia and Counterterrorism.

With Democrats in the minority, Murphy's power on the Senate Appropriations Committee may be less than if he were a Republican.

Nevertheless, he appeared confident that Connecticut ultimately will benefit.

"As the first Senator from Connecticut to serve on the Appropriations Committee in a generation, I'm excited to get to work and make sure that Connecticut taxpayers see their hard earned money returned to our state,'' he said.

The last senator from Connecticut to serve on the Appropriations Committee was Lowell Weicker, the one-time First Selectman of Greenwich, who went on to be a U.S. senator from 1971 to 1989 and Connecticut governor from 1991 to 1995.