Appropriations subcommittee heads picked by GOP

The House Republican Steering Committee on Friday selected 12 members to serve as the powerful Appropriations subcommittee chairmen in charge of all federal spending. These chairmen are known as “cardinals.”

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) said after the meeting that Rep. Bill Young (R-Fla.) was granted a waiver, which he needed as he had served as the senior committee member for more than six years, by Steering and will be the head of the Appropriations Committee's Defense subcommittee.

He said former committee ranking member Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.), whom Rogers had beaten in order to become chairman, will be chairman emeritus, a position also to be held by Young. The title will allow these representatives to sit on all subcommittees.

Heading the Appropriations Committee's Agriculture subcommittee will be Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) who had also wanted the defense position, Rogers said.

The Commerce, Justice, and Science subcommittee will be overseen by Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) and the Energy and Water subcommittee will be overseen by Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.).

Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.) will head the Financial Services subcommittee while Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.) will head the Homeland Security subcommittee formerly headed by Rogers. Aderholt is switching subcommittees from the Legislative Branch subcommittee.

The Labor and Health and Human Services subcommittee will be headed by Rep. Dennis Rehberg (R-Mont.).

The Interior and Environment subcommittee will be headed by Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) while the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs subcommittee will be headed by Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas). Culberson had been seen as in line for chairman of the Homeland Security appropriations panel.

Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas) will be in charge of State and Foreign Operations while Rep. Tom Latham (R-Iowa) will be in charge of the large Transportation spending account.

Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-Fla.) will head the Legislative Branch subcommittee which controls the smallest amount of spending. He is switching from the Military Construction subcommittee to do so.

In past years, being tapped as a cardinal was highly sought after as it guaranteed the ability to steer earmarked spending to one’s district and those of political allies. In the 112th Congress, these 12 representatives will instead be on the front lines in cutting hundreds of billions of dollars in spending and might pay a political price for that if Democrats are able to paint the cuts as overly draconian.