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GOP Battle for Appropriations Committee Chairmanship Could Get Ugly

Lobbyists have been busy courting top GOP House members slated to take over the chairmanships on important committees should Republicans win the House, but it’s important to note that not every GOP committee leadership position has been decided. Some top Republicans are seeking waivers to preserve their ranking status on committees beyond the three-term limit imposed by the party, while staunch conservatives have voiced dissatisfaction with the idea, reports The Wall Street Journal:

The leading candidates for the [Appropriations] panel’s chairmanship, Reps. Jerry Lewis (R., Calif.) and Rep. Harold Rogers (R., Ky.), are longtime members of the panel who have been stalwart defenders of earmarks, which allowed lawmakers to direct money to local projects outside the normal federal funding system.

Mr. Lewis was a senior member and chairman of the panel during the George W. Bush [era]. Conservative critics say Republicans allowed spending to run out of control at that time.

“Have Republicans learned their lesson?” asked David Keating, executive director of Club for Growth, a political group that has backed many tea-party candidates. “One way to find out is who they put in charge of Appropriations. If it’s Jerry Lewis, the answer is: Probably not.”

Also up in the air is the chairmanship of the House Energy Committee. The ranking Republican, Rep. Joe Barton (Texas), is also seeking a waiver on the term limit rule, but some colleagues are arguing his public apology to BP executives during the hearings following the Gulf of Mexico oil spill may be hurting his chances.

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