The Republican Steering Committee recommended interim Budget Chairman Diane Black of Tennessee to officially head the panel in the wake of former House Budget Chairman Tom Price being confirmed as the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.
The House Republican Conference is slated to confirm the vote Thursday morning, which will officially make Black the first female and fourth Tennessean lawmaker to chair the powerful committee.
Black, a registered nurse who also serves on the House Committee on Ways and Means, has been a staunch opponent of Obamacare and in her new position she’ll play a pivotal role in repealing and replacing President Barack Obama’s landmark health care legislation. She has been a member of the committee since 2011.
Having grown up with humble means — living in public housing with her parents in as a child until they could afford a modest house — Black credits her upbringing for her inspiration to help others achieve the American dream.
She was the first member of her family to obtain a college degree, attending Anne Arundel Community College where she received her associate’s degree in nursing and later got her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Belmont University. Black said her guidance counselor, Richard Whiting, encouraged her to pursue higher education.
In addition to serving 45 years as a nurse, still holding a licence today, Black also served in the Tennessee General Assembly from 1998-2010, where she was elected as a state representative in 1998 and state senator in 2004 . During her time in state politics, she spearheaded efforts to prevent state income tax hikes, reform health care and work on crafting fiscally conservative budgets.
Since being elected to the House in 2010, Black gained even greater name recognition, with GOP leadership praising her efforts to promote pro-life policies. Fighting to overturn pro-choice laws was an early priority for Black; her first bill introduced in Congress was aimed at defunding Planned Parenthood.
“I’m honored that my colleagues have put their trust in me to lead the House Budget Committee. As a small business owner, a nurse and most importantly, a wife, mother, and grandmother, I’m committed to putting conservative principles into action to bring real change that helps Tennesseans and the American people,” she said in a statement. “We have an exciting opportunity to unleash the power of American small businesses, bring our fiscal house in order, and fix our broken health care system, and I look forward to leading the Budget Committee as we work to accomplish these goals.”
When off the hill, Black enjoys fishing and spending time with her husband of 35 years, David Black, as well as children Steve, Jill, and Katie and six grandchildren. Rep. Diane Black with her husband and grandchildren (Photo courtesy of the House Budget Committee)
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