April 1, 2015 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Approps Panel Regains Status

Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo
House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (right) said that he and ranking member Norm Dicks (left) agreed to try to put partisanship aside in order to pass bills to avoid a government shutdown.

Thered be pressure on the Speaker and Leader to intervene and tell us to do such and so … and they didnt do that. They told those people, Look you have to deal with Hal Rogers and the committee. And that was really helpful because it gave us a single place where we could negotiate.

Rogers and the subcommittee chairmen spent much of the year working with rank-and-file Members, as well as authorizers, explaining to them what they could do and how best to pursue policy priorities through the appropriations process.

Still, when push came to shove in December, Rogers faced a difficult lift, particularly with the GOP Conferences younger Members.

Many of them were nervous with voting for something they didnt have much knowledge of, Rogers said. So he organized a meeting with subcommittee chairmen to go through the bill subcommittee by subcommittee and explain it in detail.

And while he still ultimately lost numerous Republicans, Ive heard so many freshmen especially since then say, That opened my eyes up to what you guys do, Rogers said.

He said the attacks on Appropriations stature and the prevailing hostility toward spending also helped to break the partisan divide on the committee and bring the Members closer together.

Its been very acrimonious, very partisan. Norm Dicks and I agreed that we were gonna dial that stuff back and get back to regular order, the way Appropriations has historically done. And we had to because were the only committee that has to pass bills or the government shuts down, Rogers said.

The relationship I have with Norm Dicks is the best, Rogers added, describing his Democratic colleague as representing fairness and reasonableness.

In the end, Rogers said, Members on both sides of the aisle had a mutual goal.

Members wanted to bring it back to its stature, and I think weve come a long way in that regard, he said.

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