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January 19, 2011

Welch Named to House Democratic Leadership Team

Picture 047 Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) on Wednesday was named one of ten "chief deputy whips" by Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD).

Welch said he is the only of his class — 2006 — to hold one of these key leadership posts, which come with no additional staff or resources but a seat at the leadership table as the caucus sets its priorities for the 112th Congress.

Other chief deputy whips include: Reps. Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ed Pastor (D-AZ), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Joseph Crowley (D-NY), Diana DeGette (D-CO), G. K. Butterfield (D-NC), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) and Jim Matheson (D-UT). Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) was named senior chief deputy whip.

Welch said he welcomes the challenge, and opportunity, of helping Democrats shape their agenda. In recent weeks, Welch has appeared on numerous national TV shows as a leading voice of opposition to the Republicans' effort to repeal last year's health care reform law. Instead of repeal, Welch urged the GOP to work with Democrats to fix parts of the bill that may not be working, rather than trying to repeal the whole bill.

"The big challenge in a legislative body is to create consensus and come up with ways to find practical solutions to our problems, and I see this as a chance to bring our caucus together with practical approaches to the issues at hand," said Welch.

Welch's movement into a leadership position in only his third term is the result of two key factors, notes University of Vermont political science professor Garrison Nelson, an expert on the inner workings of Congress.

"He was a legislative leader in Vermont and historically people who come to the Congress, and particularly to the House, and have prior leadership, are more likely to be considered for these types of posts because they know what the job entails," said Nelson. "Also, he is a member of the Progressive Caucus and the Progressive Caucus did very well in the last election —  95 percent of them were reelected while only half of the Blue Dogs were elected. So, ideologically that he is aligned with the most powerful of the caucuses gives him a leg up."

Welch, too, has played the role of matchmaker in Congress.

During the previous session of Congress, Welch brought Democrats from coal districts together with environmentalists over dinner at his DC apartment to help work out issues so they could all support energy legislation. As part of that legislation, Welch introduced HomeStar, otherwise dubbed "Cash for Caulkers," and was able to win Republicans to support.

"It's a function of working, listening and having a practical way of proceeding," Welch told Seven Days. "The appointment of chief deputy whip gives me more running room to play that role."

He plans to reach out to both Democrats and Republicans in his leadership role as a way to advance better legislation.

"The Congress belongs to the American people, it doesn't belong to the Republican or Democratic parties or whomever is in the majority," said Welch. "We all have a common responsibility and that's to solve the problems that need to be solved for the American people."

During his days as Senate President Pro Tem in the Vermont Senate, Welch said he regularly reached across the aisle and advance Republican ideas, "because some of them made sense."

Minority Whip Hoyer said Welch will help the leadership shape its agenda.

"Rep. Welch has stood out as a leader in the Democratic Caucus during his four years in office, and he will be a strong addition to our team," said Hoyer in a statement. "He brings an important perspective to the table, and I look forward to working with him as we promote Democrats’ priorities of job creation and deficit reduction.”

While Welch has been removed from the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, which has direct jurisdiction over health care, his leadership post will allow him to push for the waivers necessary to implement a single-payer system in Vermont, if lawmakers opt for that path.

"There are no guarantees in anything in Washington, but this will help," said Welch.

Welch was also appointed today to the Committee on Agriculture, whose jurisdiction includes farming, dairy, forestry, renewable energy, commodity exchanges, rural economic development, rural broadband access, rural health care, nutrition and water conservation, among other items. Welch is also co-chairman of the Congressional Dairy Caucus.

This year the Farm Bill is up for re-authorization, too, which will consume much of the committee's work.

Welch was also reappointed to a third term on the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which is responsible for overseeing all operations of the executive branch of the federal government. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) is the new chairman of that committee. Issa has promised to provide vigorous oversight of the Obama administration.

It's not yet clear if Welch will be reappointed to serve a term on the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, otherwise known as the House Ethics Committee.

"Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) on Wednesday was named one of ten "chief deputy whips"

The term always makes me snicker, like hearing "Lake Titticaca". Makes me think Mistress Maeve should be covering this story. I know, thoroughly immature.

Nice job Peter, all that sucking up to Pelosi paid off.

Now, what will the democratic agenda be? Actually I must admit I think Welch is head and shoulders above the two jokers we have representing us. He at least makes decisions based on what he believes in, not to see how much of our money they can return to us, or how many hours they can yell at an empty Senate Chambers as a rather pathetic fundraising ploy.

Welch is dishonest and untrustworthy. To this day he has not apologized for his assault on ACORN, a national level group who’s primary goal was to empower the politically dis-empowered.

It was only a couple years ago now that Welch joined his radical and racist right wing allies in congress in their vote to end all governmental ties to ACORN. The only problem was Welch’s assault on the working class of America was based upon fabrications.

We know Welch’s attacks on ACORN were based on fabrications because multiple state investigations into allegations of voter registration fraud proved ACORN not only didn’t engage in those activities but more often than not was the group who pointed out the problems.

We know Welch’s attacks on ACORN were base on fabrications because investigations of those now infamous videos by the California Attorney General (now governor) Brown proved that fact – oh, and so did another criminal investigation by a Bronx (NYC), NY prosecuting attorney.

We know Welch’s attacks on ACORN were base on fabrications because a report from the Government Accounting Office cleared ACORN of any wrong doing in handling government supplied money as well as voter registration activities.

But Welch to this day stands by every lie he used to help attack and destroy ACORN.

Welch has proven he’d rather stand with his radical and racist right wing allies in congress than the working class of the United States.

And this is all fact.

So much for trying to tone down the rhetoric and political hate speech. Radical racist right wing... definitely not words I personally would use to describe most politicians, and certainly not the very liberal Peter Welch (D) VT

It appears that Rama has learned very well from Bernie Sanders.


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