Boehner backs earmark foe Flake's bid to join Appropriations panel

Incoming House Speaker John Boehner is supporting fiscal conservative Rep. Jeff Flake's bid to join the Appropriations Committee. 

In a bow to fiscal conservatives, Boehner (R-Ohio) said Monday he would support Flake's effort to join Appropriations. 

"I support Congressman Jeff Flake in his effort to be appointed to serve on the Appropriations Committee, and I join with incoming Majority Leader Cantor in expressing hope that other reform-minded Members of Congress will follow Jeff’s example in seeking appointment to the committee," Boehner said Monday in a statement.

Flake and other fiscal conservatives have sought to aggressively cut spending in the next Congress and end practices like earmarks, on which the House and Senate GOP have adopted a voluntary moratorium. Flake's appointment to the Appropriations panel would be seen as a major tidal change for the committee.

The move could also quell concerns amongst new members of Congress, many of whom are allied with the activist Tea Party movement, that the new GOP majority's approach to spending might not actually change that much when push comes to shove.

"The Appropriations Committee will be the scene of much action in the next Congress as we work to implement the Pledge to America, which calls for cutting spending to pre-‘stimulus’ levels, repealing the job-killing health care law, prohibiting all taxpayer funding of abortion, and bringing greater scrutiny to the broken spending process in Washington," Boehner explained. "These priorities are among the priorities of the American people, and the Republicans currently serving on the Appropriations Committee are going to need all the additional help they can get in working to ensure the priorities of the people are met.”

Flake has long been a critic of the appropriations committee's spending decisions, and he has clashed occasionally with top members of the panel, including Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.), a senior Republican who hopes to become the committee's chairman. Lewis has said he backs Flake's effort to back the committee, making it seem almost certain that Flake will join the panel.