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Pelosi selects Seth Moulton for key conference committee

SALEM — It appears Nancy Pelosi doesn’t get mad or get even. 

On the heels of U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton’s failed attempted coup of the House Speaker last year, the California Democrat has named him to the powerful Conference Committee. It’s their job to negotiate the House’s version with the Senate’s proposal for more than $700 billion in defense spending.

“I was not surprised,” Moulton said. “We are professionals. There’s a time to debate and a time to play on the team. I talk to her all the time.”

Pelosi’s office did not respond to a request for comment. 

Last fall, Moulton played a key role in working to replace Pelosi, 79, saying it was time for new leadership. His effort failed and she was re-elected House Speaker.

Moulton was selected along with 18 other members of the House Armed Services Committee, which includes U.S. Rep. William Keating (D-Mass.).

The full House negotiating team is comprised of 47 members of Congress. But it is the Armed Services Committee that does most of the heavy lifting. 

The House and Senate are only $17 billion apart on the defense budget with the House bill at $733 billion and the Senate is $750. But there will still be long nights ahead for the panel.

“Some of the differences are relatively minor, but there are important differences,” he said. “There’s $200 million for General Electric Co.’s Improved Turbine Engine program that would be built in Lynn. That’s in the House but not the Senate version.”

The biggest debate will be over President Trump’s border wall, he said. 

“The Senate will try to back fill all the money Trump is stealing from the military to pay for his useless wall,” he said. 

Proponents insist protecting the U.S. borders from the illegal movement of people, weapons and drugs, while promoting trade and travel, is essential to homeland security, economic prosperity and national sovereignty.

Trump wants as much as $7 billion for the wall, he has said. Moulton said the negotiations won’t be as simple as splitting the difference.  

“The obvious would be a compromise,” he said. “We are at zero, they are at 7, but we already gave a bunch of money for the wall. The terms of the deal Pelosi made with Trump was for $1.8 billion in wall funding. That’s done and he wants more.”

One of the possibilities of compromise is for the House to agree on funding it now, but forbid any future funding, he said. 

“There’s different ways the compromise could go,” Moulton said. “We’ll have to see.”

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