Juan Ciscomani, the freshly-minted Republican congressman from Arizona’s new 6th Congressional district, was appointed by House leadership to the powerful House Appropriations Committee. The only freshman member of the 118th Congress to serve on the committee, Ciscomani has the opportunity to shape the nation’s spending priorities for the next two years.
The House Appropriations Committee is responsible for passing spending bills alongside its counterpart in the Senate. Members of the committee wield outsized influence within Congress, shaping all facets of government spending and often prioritizing the needs of their districts.
For his part, Ciscomani says that he is most enthusiastic about advocating for the two military installations in his district — Davis Monthan Air Force Base and Fort Huachuca — alongside investments in “border security, infrastructure, trade and commerce, agriculture, water, healthcare, veteran affairs, energy, and defense.” He will have much better odds of securing favorable spending for his constituents on these fronts because of his committee membership.
In addition to making sure that the residents of the Southern Arizona district are the beneficiaries of federal dollars, Ciscomani hopes to use his role to hold government accountable on spending. “The hardworking families in my district need to know that their tax dollars are being spent responsibly and efficiently,” he said. In fact, he considers that his primary objective on the committee.
As President Joe Biden begins to deal with a Republican-controlled chamber of Congress for the first time since entering the Oval Office, a clash between Democrats and Republicans on federal spending looms.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says that the federal government could soon default on its debt obligations if Congress does not agree to raise the debt limit, while some House Republicans are hoping to use the vote on raising the debt limit to force Democrats to agree to reduced spending.
Biden has taken a hardline stance in return, refusing to negotiate.
“Attempts to exploit the debt ceiling as leverage will not work. There will be no hostage-taking,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.
Ciscomani is poised to play a role in the coming battle over federal spending that few new members will, even beyond debates over raising the debt limit.
He says that he came to Washington to “promote fiscal responsibility, bring transparency to federal spending, and preserve the American Dream for all.”
Among the most influential freshman members, the Arizona congressman hopes to return to his district with results.