Hope and Change!
It seems that incoming GOP freshmen would rather be on the Government Reform and Oversight Committee than nab a once-prized Appropriations slot.
About two weeks ago, Speaker-to-be John Boehner found himself in an odd conversation with a young Republican House member. Their talk may rank as the most compelling example yet that the huge midterm GOP victory will produce real change in Washington—not just change in the familiar political sense, but down-the-rabbit-hole change, in which the world as we understand it seems to disappear.
Boehner was trying to “lure” Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah onto the Appropriations Committee. Yes, lure. The 43-year-old, first-term lawmaker was hesitating over appointment to the vaunted panel, long regarded as one of the best perches in all of Washington. For most House members, Appropriations is the summa of committee assignments. A seat on the panel brings power, prestige, and lobbyists’ cash. It’s earmark heaven, too.
Chaffetz said no.
[A]t two separate orientation conferences—one at Harvard University and the other at Heritage—informal surveys of 49 of the 85 incoming GOP freshmen revealed not one who identified Appropriations as his or her No. 1 committee choice. “They all saw it as a foreign entity,” Franc said.
[Republican Rep. Jim] Jordan says that the leadership is having trouble finding freshmen willing to serve on Appropriations, an unheard-of circumstance that suggests, at least for the time being, that spending and the perks that historically have come with it are radioactive.
“It’s a testament to what I hope and believe is a culture shift,” said Jordan, who admitted that he steered clear of Appropriations in part to solidify his bid to lead the conservative Republican Study Committee—a hotbed of GOP antagonism toward appropriators.
However squishy the old hands might be inclined to be on fiscal responsibility, it’s nice to see the new blood demonstrating that they won’t just dive into the swamp.