U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., has been appointed to the U.S. House Intelligence Committee, putting him in the middle of that committee's probe into suspected ties between Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and Russia.
The appointment, announced by Welch and by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., raises the Norwich Democrat's national profile as well as giving him a significant part in a possible presidential impeachment drama.
The Intelligence Committee oversees 17 federal intelligence agencies and offices, including the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and intelligence functions within the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice, State and Energy. It's chaired by U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the committee's previous ranking member.
"I am grateful for the opportunity to serve at such a momentous time in our nation's history," Welch said in a prepared statement issued by his office. "This committee serves as a steward for the American people in overseeing the country's most sensitive intelligence programs. And we have a solemn responsibility to protect our national security, as well as our privacy and civil liberties. I look forward to working with [Schiff ] to reinvigorate the committee and get to work for the American people."
Pelosi also announced that Welch will return to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, whose jurisdiction includes health care, energy, environment, telecommunications, technology, consumer protection, and trade. He was named by his colleagues to that committee's Subcommittees on Health, Energy, and Communications and Technology.
Welch is also continuing roles in House Democratic leadership, as Pelosi retained him as Chief Deputy Whip and to the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, which makes recommendations on committee appointments and policy.
Welch is starting his seventh term as Vermont's lone member of the House.