U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos will be at the table with fellow lawmakers divvying up $1 trillion worth of federal spending in this session of Congress.
The Moline Democrat, just named to the House Appropriations Committee, which approves all federal dollars spent, learned Wednesday that she'll sit on subcommittees there for defense; military construction and veterans affairs; and labor, health and human services and education.
She called them "the best subcommittees I possibly could get on to help our district."
Preliminary decisions are made at the subcommittee level on funding priorities, and those are further ironed out by the full committee before budgets are passed for federal agencies.
In an interview between votes on Capitol Hill, Bustos said constituents will find the impact of her service on the committee to be wide-ranging.
"There is not one person out of the 711,000 people in our congressional district that (isn't) impacted by the spending that I will have a say in," she said.
That includes pushing for funding for Air National Guard bases like 182nd Air Wing in Bartonville and Veterans Affairs clinics and facilities in Peoria, Galesburg, Freeport, Rockford, Sterling and East Moline.
The third subcommittee oversees funding for major issues including the Affordable Care Act, workforce development, programs combating the opioid epidemic, and combating lead exposure in children.
The bottom line, Bustos said, is that she's now "in a better position to make sure I'm fighting for people and looking out for people in our state."
The last local member of Congress to serve on the Appropriations Committee was U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood. The only other Illinoisan currently on the committee is U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Chicago.