Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley has announced that he'll be joining the Senate Appropriations Committee, considered to be one of the most powerful on Capitol Hill. The committee is responsible for deciding how the federal government spends money. Oregon has not had a member of Congress on the Appropriations Committee in either the House or Senate since Senator Mark Hatfield, who was Chairman of the committee, retired in 1996. Merkley's appointment will take effect when the 113th Congress begins its session next month.
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