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Texas

Texas' Voice in Washington Will Get Louder Through House Committee Chairs

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Texas Republicans will chair six of the 21 U.S. House committees when the 114th U.S. Congress starts in January 2015.

The 114th U.S. Congress is getting attention for how few women will chair committees in the House, but when it comes to Texans – they won’t be under-represented. Texas Republicans will chair six of the 21 U.S. House committees.

Now, Texas is the largest red state in the U.S., so it may not be surprising that Texas representatives are likely to chair six House committees in a new Congress where Republicans have control of the Senate and expanded margins in the House. Still, experts say this will have an impact for Texas.

"It puts Texas in a position to bring home the bacon a little bit," says Professor Jim Riddlesperger, who teaches political science at Texas Christian University. He says public works projects and government spending in Texas can happen more easily if Texans have control of committees, where legislation gets drafted and hearings take place.

Riddlesperger also says Texas will regain some of the voice it lost in Washington once President George W. Bush left office in 2009.

"Texas was in a relatively low influence level compared to what it had been before, but now that the Republicans have built quite a bit of seniority in Congress, it has put them in a position to have that level of influence," he says.

Texas lawmakers are expected to chair committees that include armed services, rules, financial services, homeland security and agriculture. The new Congress starts in January.