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A Rare Tom Udall Post

I don’t spend a lot of time writing about U.S. Representative Tom Udall (D). Mostly, because he really doesn’t seem to do much to write about – positive or negative. Sure, some bloggers and the MSM gave him a lot of ink when Udall was appointed to the House Appropriations Committee:

It wasn’t an accident, fluke, luck or anything else of that nature. It had been in the works for a long time. And it was evidence that playing by the old rules still works quite well, thank you.

Udall had been working at getting a seat on this most powerful of all committees ever since former Rep. Joe Skeen announced his retirement almost five years ago. Skeen had been on the Appropriations Committee for many years and had chaired several of its subcommittees.

That made Skeen a “cardinal,” a title given to Appropriations subcommittee chairmen because of the tremendous power they wield. Udall won’t be chairing a subcommittee anytime soon, but that’s where he’s headed.

So, what does Representative Udall do after all of these years of trying to get into the powerful Appropriations Committee?

The House approval, on a 312-112 vote, would cut nuclear weapons spending by the Department of Energy by $396 million— 6 percent.

The Senate, meanwhile, is pushing a $213 million increase— 3 percent. To come up with a final spending plan, leaders of the two bodies must come together to reconcile the differences between the two spending plans.

Sorting out the differences in the nuclear weapons budget involve larger questions about how much money is available for related energy and water projects in fiscal 2008.

The House bill could mean the loss of 900 jobs at Sandia National Laboratories and even more at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Democrat Tom Udall, who represents Los Alamos, voted in favor of the bill. New Mexico Republicans Heather Wilson, whose district includes Sandia, and Steve Pearce voted against it.