The powerful House Appropriations Committee has added three new Republican members following the resignation of two members earlier this year and the death of longtime Florida Rep. C.W. Bill Young in October. The committee, along with its Senate counterpart, holds the “power of the purse” under the Constitution, determining how much money the government actually spends. Slots on the committee are coveted by members of Congress, who are often able to use it to steer money, either directly or indirectly, back to their constituents.
Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) announced on December 4 the appointment of Nevada Rep. Mark Amodei, Alabama Rep. Martha Roby, and Utah Rep. Chris Stewart. The three members, whose appointments had to be approved by the House Republican Steering Committee, become the junior-most members of the committee, which has 30 Republicans and 22 Democrats. “After a 17 year absence, Nevada returns to a seat on the House Appropriations Committee,” said Amodei, a lawyer who won a special election for Nevada’s second congressional district in 2011, and who had been head of the Nevada Republican party.
Roby is a second-term Congresswoman from Alabama’s second district, which includes Montgomery and Dothan. Stewart, whose district includes Salt Lake City, will be the only freshman on the committee and the first Utah Congressman to serve on the House Appropriations committee since 1981.
Former House Appropriations member Rodney Alexander (R-LA) retired in September to take a job in the administration of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, complaining in a statement that “partisan posturing has created a legislative standstill.” Alabama Republican Jo Bonner left the committee in August to take a job at the University of Alabama. C.W. Bill Young, who had been Chair of the Defense Appropriations subcommittee, died last October. He had been the longest-serving Republican member of the House.