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Update: Kline beats out two GOP colleagues for committee post

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Minnesota’s 2nd District Rep. John Kline beat out two other Republicans today to nab the top GOP spot on the House Education and Labor Committee.

“I am excited about it,” Kline said in an interview with MinnPost today. “It is an opportunity that I didn’t even think about having, certainly so early in my fourth term.”

Kline, a retired Marine colonel, will take over for Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif. He had previously served as ranking member on the Health, employment, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Subcommittee.

“Since I was ranking member of the HELP Subcommittee, I found myself engaged in the debate on so many of the front-burner issues,” Kline said, adding. “I felt that I was ready to step into the position and best prepared to step into the position.”

Kline’s record as a faithful conservative also helped to boost him ahead of more senior, but more centrist, Republicans who were considered for the top GOP seat on the pivotal committee.

As ranking member, Kline will now play a key leadership role on everything from health care legislation, to the controversial card check issue, to pension reform, to the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind.

“This legislation is not slowing down. There is a lot of very important legislation,” that is coming before the Committee, Kline said.

Next week, in fact, the Committee will be holding a hearing on the massive healthcare reform legislation that has already been partially unveiled in the Senate.

Kline said that he would select a replacement for his ranking spot on the HELP Subcommittee Thursday from among the Republicans on the Committee.

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