U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann has landed a spot on a crucial panel for Tennessee's 3rd District.
The second-term Republican, whose district includes Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Tennessee Valley Authority, was appointed to the House Appropriations Committee's Energy & Water Development Subcommittee.
The news was announced Tuesday after the Ooltewah Republican expressed interest in joining the subcommittee, which oversees funding for the U.S. Department of Energy -- the federal agency that operates Oak Ridge.
Energy & Water also handles TVA issues. Outside observers have said Fleischmann's new assignment could lead to speedier work at TVA's Chickamauga Lock project, which remains in a state of gridlock.
Fleischmann also will serve on appropriations subcommittees dealing with homeland security and labor, health and human services, according to a committee news release.
"It is my honor and privilege to serve side by side with some of the hardest workers in Congress," Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers, R-Ky., said in a news release. "It is through their dedication and steadfast commitment to responsible governing that we can help address the nation's many fiscal challenges."
Fleischmann received his appropriations assignment in November, but the subcommittee appointment could be seen as an equal achievement. During Fleischmann's 2012 re-election campaign, critics charged he didn't exert influence on any committees with relevance to his district.
One such critic was Fleischmann's predecessor -- former U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, a longtime appropriations member who enjoyed significant standing during his 12 years on the Energy & Water subcommittee. Wamp's son Weston unsuccessfully challenged Fleischmann last year.
Chris Carroll covers federal politics for the Times Free Press. A Chattanooga native, he went to Red Bank High School and graduated with honors from East Tennessee State University. Chris investigated violent crime, municipal government and hospitals before taking the political beat. For tornado coverage, he and Pam Sohn won a first-place Tennessee Associated Press Managing Editors deadline reporting award. In 2010, Chris won the Golden Press Card Award of Merit and another deadline reporting ...