Veteran Kentucky Congressman Hal Rogers, fresh off a reelection campaign that bared tensions between him and GOP Senate candidate Rand Paul over the proper use of tax dollars and earmarks, has been chosen by Republicans to lead the House Appropriations Committee.
In previous Congresses, the plum position with power of the purse has been coveted for the benefits it can clean for the Chairman's home district. Rogers takes over as Republicans say the election's mandate demands less spending.
Politico says the move sets up "an old bull appropriator with a history of earmarking to deliver on the anti-spending tea party platform that carried the GOP to victory this fall."
Rogers, a member of the appropriations panel since 1983, has been adept at securing earmarks for his district. In his bid for the chairmanship, he promised the GOP he’d overhaul the committee, ending the earmark process. He has vowed to strip funding for health care.
At the same time, Rogers has said he’s planning to immediately shake up the staff, cutting it by 20 percent. He’s also considering hiring a former lobbyist and vice president of Lockheed Martin, a major defense contractor, as staff director for the committee.