Ryan Costello named to Energy and Commerce Committee
Congressman Ryan Costello was appointed to the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee this week.
Costello, who represents Pennsylvania's Sixth Congressional District, which includes Lebanon County, was one of four Republicans named to the committee by Chairman Greg Walden (R-Or). The others were Rep. Buddy Carter of Georgia, Rep. Tim Walberg of Michigan and Rep. Mimi Walters of California.
"I am thrilled to welcome our newest members to an already stellar team at the Energy and Commerce Committee," Walden said in a news release. "Whether it is fixing our broken health care system or unleashing the full strength of the American economy, the committee is poised to tackle some of the most important issues facing our nation. From day one, we will work tirelessly to leverage the unique strengths of our new and returning members to ensure we continue the committee’s long record of bipartisan success."
Established in 1795, the Energy and Commerce Committee is the oldest standing legislative committee in the U.S. House of Representatives and one of the most influential. It oversees multiple cabinet-level Departments and agencies, including the departments of Energy, Health and Human Services, Commerce, and Transportation, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Trade Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Federal Communications Commission, according to its website energycommerce.house.gov.
With that authority, the committee establishes policy and laws in such sweeping categories as telecommunications, consumer protection, food and drug safety, public health research, environmental quality, energy policy, and interstate and foreign commerce.
Costello, who was sworn into his second term on Tuesday, said he was honored to be appointed to the Energy and Commerce Committee.
“It is an honor to join my colleagues on the prestigious Energy and Commerce Committee, and a great opportunity for constituents of Pennsylvania’s Sixth Congressional District," he said. "The work of the committee focuses on policies that can positively impact the jobs and quality of life for residents in the communities I represent, including innovation in healthcare, the life sciences, and clean energy. I look forward to the important work ahead.”
It was an important week for Costello, who last session served on the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee and the Veterans Affairs Committee, where he introduced "The Ensuring VA Employee Accountability Act." That bill had the honor of being the first piece of legislation to be approved by the 115th U.S. Congress, when it was passed unanimously on Tuesday.
The legislation eliminates a long-standing U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs policy that wipes clean some employee discipline records after three years, preventing poor performers within the VA from being tracked or held accountable over the long-term.
Costello's bill, which still must pass the U.S. Senate and be signed into law by the president, establishes a new rule requiring VA employee disciplinary files to be maintained throughout each employee’s tenure at the department. These files would be reviewed when an employee is under consideration for a bonus, promotion, or other advancement, Costello said.
“The reason I introduced this legislation is simple – it allows the Department of Veterans Affairs to maintain accurate records of disciplinary actions against employees,” he said in a news release. “The file can then be taken into consideration when an employee is up for a bonus or promotion. My bill is intended to bring more transparency and accountability to the way we serve our veterans.”