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December 8th, 2010
05:03 PM ET

'Prince of pork' wins top seat on House Appropriations Cmte.

James R. Carroll
Courier-Journal

U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers — known for his ability to secure funding for projects in his Eastern Kentucky district — was selected Tuesday as the new chairman of House Appropriations, the most powerful committee in Congress.

The 5th District Republican was chosen by the GOP steering committee in a secret vote late Tuesday afternoon. The decision is expected to be ratified Wednesday by the rest of the House Republicans.

Rogers beat out fellow committee veteran and former chairman Jerry Lewis, R-Calif., and relative newcomer Jack Kingston, R-Ga.

“I am humbled and thrilled with the steering committee's decision, and look forward to the honor and responsibility of leading the Appropriations Committee next year if the full GOP conference approves the recommendation tomorrow,” Rogers said in a statement.

“There is no doubt that we have a tough and demanding chore ahead of us. The nation is in a fiscal crisis, and hard decisions are coming.”

Republicans took control of the House in the November election, giving it the power to name the chamber's leaders, including committee chairmen.

Rogers will preside over the writing of all the federal spending bills — and over the House GOP leadership's plans next year to whack away at President Barack Obama's next budget and stem the flow of dollars out of Washington.

In the lead-up to the selection, some conservatives argued that neither Rogers nor Lewis was qualified to be the chairman because of their past history as vigorous users of earmarks, special requests for spending on state and local projects.

Critics dubbed Rogers “the Prince of Pork” and called his earmark-benefitted district, where everything from highway construction to homeland security contracts had the Kentuckian's help over the years, “Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood.”

Rogers secured 137 earmarks worth $251.9 million between 2008 and 2010, according to LegisStorm, a nonpartisan congressional watchdog group. That ranked him 99th among Senate and House members with earmarks.

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Filed under: Earmarks • Raw Politics • Republicans
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Pamela

    Saw your piece on the Prince of Pork. Having worked almost directly with the "Dirty Dozen" from Kentucky, this move was put into place long before today. McConnell, Rogers, Boehner(Ohio, right across the river), Vitter. They're what are known as "good ole boys" and they are out to ruin the middle class, because they don't care. They've made their money. They have health care. Retirement. A pretty damn good life. But one by one they continue to take us down. It's getting scary Anderson.

    Here's a tip for you. Check out a guy named Driesler, also from Kentucky. He's the lobbyist behind the scenes in all of this. His deceased wife has a cancer center named after her in Kentucky, courtesy of Hal Rogers. Oh, the stories I could tell.....

    December 8, 2010 at 10:46 pm |
  2. George Stewart

    Congressman Hal Rogers is popular in my state and district(5th Congressional District), but he is also a pompous hypocrite who has many places bearing his name. His new leadership role in the House of Representatives means more earmarks for the state and perhaps Somerset will be renameed Rogerville, KY. Thanks for shedding light on the this "Prince of Pork"

    George
    Evarts, KY

    December 8, 2010 at 10:34 pm |
  3. Annie Kate

    And here I thought the GOP had said they would do away with earmarks and now they elect this "prince of pork" to the appropriations committee? I hope that he realizes he cannot continue in the manner in which he has acted in prior years – he, who will be more visible on this committee, will have to be the first to step up to the plate and not do any earmarks. Otherwise it will look like the GOP was just blowing hot air with their talk of ending earmarks.

    December 8, 2010 at 9:27 pm |
  4. marie

    The secret vote says it all. Word what a mess we are in for. He and Boehner are going to make us all pay with our futures.

    December 8, 2010 at 8:54 pm |
  5. NS

    this is like putting the fox in charge to guard the hen house. The republicans are a joke!

    December 8, 2010 at 7:27 pm |