Feb. 12, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Prince of Pork Becomes King of Spending Cuts

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Once known as the prince of pork, Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers has led GOP efforts to cut federal spending in the continuing resolution.

“He’s shown that he’s nimble and has the work ethic to get it done,” he said. “This process is no easy task.”

That’s particularly true for Rogers, who over his tenure on the Appropriations panel has gained a reputation for his love of earmarks. The 30-year House veteran won the gavel after he promised to fulfill the GOP pledge to ban the practice and slash federal spending.

Moves like that have endeared Rogers to GOP leaders, who have told rank-and-file Members to look to him for guidance on how to come down on most amendments to the CR.

Rogers’ style is markedly different from his predecessor, former Rep. David Obey. The Wisconsin Democrat had a reputation as a fierce negotiator and a master of the backroom deal. Although Obey showed deference to his cardinals, he kept a tight hold on the committee.

One GOP aide who worked with Obey noted that the former chairman would never have agreed to a floor process with hundreds of amendments. “He would have said, ‘I’m the chairman and that’s what we have a Rules Committee for,’” the aide said.

Rogers has shown he’s willing to share the authority, Republicans said. For instance, while he managed the initial general debate on the CR, he allowed his subcommittee chairmen to manage the floor when items came up under their jurisdiction.

Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.), chairwoman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, said that while Rogers has done a good job of working with the committee’s senior members, “He wants us to be leaders, to run our subcommittees well and be in charge of our pieces on the floor.”

Rep. Mike Simpson, another cardinal, said the process has gone fairly smoothly, even taking into account an incident Tuesday night when Progressive Caucus members used a procedural loophole that allowed them to speak indefinitely in five-minute increments.

“If they want to pursue that, fine, we’ll put up with it, and then we’ll eventually get to the amendment process, which we did,” the Idaho Republican said.

Kathleen Hunter contributed to this report.

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