Westward focus: Murkowski wins seat on conference committee


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell named Sen. Lisa Murkowski as one of the eight Senate Republicans who will serve on the tax reform conference committee, which will work to hammer out differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill. Of the eight, most are from Western States: Orin Hatch of Utah, Mike Enzi of Wyoming, John Cornyn of Texas, and John Thune of South Dakota.

They are are joined on the conference committee by Eastern state senators Rob Portman of Ohio, Tim Scott of South Carolina and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.

Earlier this week, Congressman Don Young was named to the House side of the conference committee by Speaker Paul Ryan.

Other Republicans on the conference committee from the House are Devin Nunes of California, Peter Roskam of Illinois, Diane Black of Tennessee, Kristi Noem of South Dakota, Fred Upton of Michigan, John Shimkus of Illinois, Rob Bishop of Utah and House Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Kevin Brady, of Texas, who is the chair of the conference committee.

Only Alaska, Utah, South Dakota and Texas have conference committee members on both sides of the table.

In addition to reducing taxes for Americans at almost all income levels, the bill authorizes oil and gas drilling in the 1002 Area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a priority for Alaska’s delegation in Washington.

Murkowski shepherded that part of the legislation through her Senate Natural Resources Committee last month. Rep. Young serves on the House Natural Resources Committee and is past chair of the committee. With representation on both sides of the conference committee, Alaska is well positioned to protect the ANWR-opening language in the Senate version.


    • What does this even mean? Somehow getting on the conference committee to fight for Alaska’s Priorities line ANWR turns into a negative for you?

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