Monday, January 15, 2001
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Posted on: Monday, January 15, 2001

Akaka gains two new assignments

By Susan Roth
Advertiser Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — Democrat Daniel Akaka, Hawaii’s junior senator, is adding two committees to his Senate workload — the Armed Services Committee and the Ethics Committee, for a total of six panel assignments.

Sen. Daniel Akaka was appointed to one post he sought and one he did not seek.

Advertiser library photo • September 1998

He is keeping his place on the Senate’s committees on energy and natural resources, government affairs, veterans affairs, and Indian affairs. Senior Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawai
i, returns to the same four committees: appropriations, commerce, Indian affairs and rules.

New committee assignments for the 107th Congress will become official when the Senate’s Democratic caucus votes on them later this month.

Senators can participate in their new committees’ confirmation hearings for proposed members of President-elect Bush’s Cabinet, but cannot vote on the confirmations.

In keeping with that rule, Akaka made his armed services debut at Thursday’s confirmation hearing for Donald Rumsfeld, the defense secretary-designate.

Akaka requested assignment to armed services because of the Pentagon’s significance in Hawaii.

"The Defense Department has a considerable impact on the economy of our state," he said in a statement. "Hawaii is home to military installations from every branch of our armed services. We have traditionally enjoyed an excellent relationship with the military, and I look forward to continuing to work with the department in fostering these relationships to meet our nation’s security interests in the Pacific and around the world."

The appointment complements Inouye’s position as ranking Democrat on the appropriations subcommittee on defense spending.

Akaka did not request the appointment to the ethics committee, which is generally shunned by members.

The panel’s last major investigation culminated in the 1995 resignation of former Sen. Bob Packwood, R-Ore., on charges of sexual harassment.

"The committee’s regulatory and enforcement responsibilities can be burdensome," Akaka acknowledged.

But he said he was pleased at colleagues’ confidence in his judgment and fairness.

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