To defend ANWR vote, Don Young chosen for conference committee


Every election cycle in recent years, Congressman Don Young’s opponents say he’s run out of political clout. They just keep saying it, but evidently that’s not the case.

Young was just chosen as one of nine House members to serve on the conference committee for the tax reform package that has passed both House and Senate in somewhat different forms. Conference committee is where the differences are ironed out in private meetings between chosen representatives from the House and Senate.

Alaska has a huge dog in the fight, with the provision in the tax bill that contains the authority to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge 1002 Area of the coastal plain to oil and gas development.

House Speaker Paul Ryan made the appointment and it was affirmed by the House on a vote of 222-192.

“This has always been a team effort, one that required our delegation to fire on all cylinders at each and every turn. Now that we head to a Conference Committee – the group responsible for negotiating a pathway to the president’s desk – I will do everything in my power to ensure this important moment to unlock ANWR’s energy resources does not pass us by,” Young said.

“It’s been over 40 years since this battle began – a generation’s long battle that is finally coming to a head. I thank Speaker Ryan and the House Leadership for recognizing my role in this important debate and for entrusting me to be part of the effort to craft an agreement that will positively improve the lives of Alaskans and Americans for generations to come. I commend the work of both Senator Murkowski and Senator Sullivan, the dedicated staff on the Energy Natural Resources Committee, and the countless Alaskans who have stood by our side to make this a reality. It’s a remarkable place to be, especially given the dire straits we were in as an energy producing state only two years ago.

“There is still a long way to go in our unified effort to unleash Alaska’s true energy potential, but I am committed to getting this across the finish line. ” – Congressman Don Young

Speaker Ryan named Republican Reps. Kevin Brady of Texas, Devin Nunes of California, Peter Roskam of Illinois, Diane Black of Tennessee, Kristi Noem of South Dakota, Rob Bishop of Utah, Don Young of Alaska, Greg Walden of Oregon, and John Shimkus of Illinois.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi named Democrat Reps. Richard Neal of Massachusetts, Sander Levin of Michigan, Lloyd Doggett of Texas, Raúl Grijalva of Arizona, and Kathy Castor of Florida.
In addition to defending the long-sought ANWR authority, the Republicans will be hammering out differences that include the Senate’s repeal of the individual mandate in Obamacare, forcing Americans to purchase health insurance or pay a penalty to the IRS. The House bill does not include the repeal. The Senate bill preserved the alternative minimum tax, which was repealed by the House. The House made tax cuts for individuals permanent, while the Senate have a sunset date.

Rep. Young is the longest serving Republican in the House. In 1973, his first year in office, he also served on the conference committee that negotiated the final terms of the Trans Alaska Pipeline Act. He has attempted to pass ANWR legislation 12 times over the course of his 23 two-year terms.