WASHINGTON — Worried about the brakes on your foreign-made minivan? Concerned about scammers while buying Aunt Ginny that Christmas present online?
Have no fear — Rep. Lee Terry soon will be on the case.
The Omaha Republican finally got his gavel. He was named chairman Wednesday of the Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Among the many areas covered by that wide-ranging subcommittee: e-commerce, trade, sports, data security, consumer protections, product safety, privacy, motor vehicle safety and travel and tourism.
Topics covered in the panel's hearings this Congress have ranged from efforts to fight “cross-border (email) spam, spyware and fraud” to exploring the economic potential of mobile device applications.
Another big issue for the committee has been, and likely will continue to be, online privacy.
Terry's promotion represents a big opportunity for him after 14 years of representing Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District. He will have access to more staff resources, a chance to shape his party's agenda and a bigger platform to showcase his work.
It also will offer fresh ammunition against political opponents who have sought for years to cast him as a bit player in the Washington scene who wields little power or influence.
Terry has responded to that criticism by touting legislation he helped pass, but in this past campaign cycle he also specifically noted that he was on the cusp of a subcommittee chairmanship.
The House has 20 standing committees with about 100 subcommittees. The Energy and Commerce Committee is one of the top full committees, however, so moving into one of its six chairmanships is particularly difficult.
Terry had hoped to take over the subcommittee that covers telecommunications, an area to which he devoted much time and effort. But the chairman of that panel wasn't going anywhere.
In contrast, the former chairwoman of the commerce subcommittee, Rep. Mary Bono Mack, R-Calif., lost her re-election bid. She had just taken over the subcommittee in 2010.
The full committee chairman Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., said Terry would help lead the charge for supporting the manufacturing sector and creating jobs.
Terry was clearly excited to announce the post, saying that the panel covers issues that affect people's day-to-day lives.
“I will take my subcommittee chairmanship seriously and work hard to improve lives, promote safety and support job-creating trade agreements,” Terry said.
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