Representative Harold Rogers of Kentucky has been picked by key House Republicans to head the chamber’s Appropriations Committee, one of his challengers for the job said.
Rogers’ selection, expected to be confirmed by the full House Republican caucus, will put the 15-term incumbent at the center of his party’s efforts next year to slash the federal budget by $100 billion.
Representative Jerry Lewis of California, who also sought the position, said in a statement that Rogers was picked for the post today during a closed-door meeting of the House Republican steering committee. “I look forward to working with Chairman Rogers, my fellow committee members, our incoming freshman, and all members of the Conference to fulfill our pledge to cut spending,” Lewis said.
Rogers, 72, was once named the “Prince of Pork” by a Kentucky newspaper. The Appropriations Committee chairmanship long had been considered a plum assignment because the panel decides how to dole out $1 trillion in annual government spending, including so-called earmark projects in lawmakers’ home states.
The job description will change as Republicans, after winning control of the next session of the House in last month’s midterm elections, try to make good on a campaign promise to slash domestic spending. The panel will also lead the Republican fight to deny funding for parts of President Barack Obama’s health-care overhaul, as well as efforts to block administration regulations by adding provisions to agency budgets barring them from enforcing the rules.
Also seeking the chairman’s job was Representative Jack Kingston of Georgia.
The Republican steering committee is headed by incoming House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio and made up of other party leaders, selected committee leaders, three new members and regional representatives. Its choices are typically ratified by the entire House Republican membership.
The panel today also selected Representative Fred Upton, a Michigan Republican backed by Boehner, to chair the Energy and Commerce Committee. Upton beat back a bid by Representative Joe Barton of Texas, the committee’s current ranking Republican, who was endorsed by Tea Party favorite Michele Bachmann, a Minnesota Republican.
Barton in June sparked a political backlash from both parties when he accused the White House of a “shakedown” by pressuring BP Plc to set aside $20 billion for damage claims from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Barton retracted his comments after party leaders threatened to take away his position on the committee.