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Leviathan Richard Falknor on 17 Feb 2013 08:39 pm

New Appropriator Andy Harris:Next ‘Cardinal’? Or Tea Party Hero?

Last Thursday, Valentine’s Day, the House Republican Steering Committee appointed (click here) Maryland’s only GOP U.S. Representative to the House Appropriations panel — Andy Harris.

Dr. Harris will serve most notably on two Appropriations subcommittees: Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (click here for jurisdiction), and Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (click here for jurisdiction).

Not so long ago, appointment of a Representative to the House Appropriations Committee meant an opportunity for the new panel member to ‘help’ his district substantially — presumably increasing the longevity of the new member’s tenure. 

And if that member played well with other panel members (of both parties) and was properly deferential to the House leadership, there was a good prospect of advancement over the years to chairmanship of an appropriations subcommittee. These appropriations subcommittee chairs have been called the “cardinals” of the House because of the Federal money they can allocate.

Alas, however, that halcyon era was before the time of an increasingly noisy conservative base exacerbated by knuckle-dragging Tea Partiers — with their insistent demands for shrinking Leviathan and for using the House’s very real power of the purse to defund the Obama Administration’s job-killing regulations and freedom-menacing abuses of executive power.

Will Defunding Obamacare Be The House Appropriators Central Challenge?

Also on last Valentine’s Day, Daniel Horowitz (MadisonProject) in his “The GOP Waterloo” declared

“There is no doubt that John Boehner and Paul Ryan will push through a 10-year balanced budget for FY 2014.  But it is meaningless if they fail to finally make good on their promise to defund Obamacare.  It’s time for us to confront the reality that there is no entitlement reform without quashing Obamacare.  There will be no balanced budget as long as Obamacare is still on the books.  If you are one who feels that Obamacare is here to stay as a result of the elections, then stop talking about entitlement reform and balanced budgets.  None of that will happen once the Obamacare ship sets sail next year.” (Highlighting Forum’s.)

As Marylander Horowitz reminds us —

“Last year, 127 members of the House signed a letter pledging to oppose any appropriation bill that contains funding for Obamacare.  105 of those members are still in the House (download here).  The full copy of the letter can be viewed here.  After much delay, the March 27 CR [continuing resolution] is the last opportunity to fulfill that promise.”

Dr. Harris is one of the signers of that letter.

Ah, but the good chairman of Dr. Harris’ new panel has a different perspective! 

Kyle Cheney (Politico) reported early last month in his “Jack Kingston has bipartisan goals for ACA funding” —

“But the affable Georgia Republican — set to chair the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services in the new Congress — wants it known he’s not a saber-rattling, repeal-at-any-cost zealot.
‘I don’t want to go in there saying, ‘By golly, there’s a new sheriff in town,’ the Savannah resident told POLITICO. ‘Obamacare has been the law of the land, and it is getting implemented. We have to work in that context.’
Describing those comments as potentially ‘controversial’ — a nod to the heat that Speaker John Boehner took when he called Obamacare the law of the land right after the November elections — Kingston acknowledged the difficult position he’s in, caught between a Republican base that detests the health law and Democrats who control the White House and Senate.” (Highlighting Forum’s.)

Nearly two years ago now, and again last year, we referred to the The Perils of Not Defunding Obamacare and highlighted former House appropriator and Heritage Foundation distinguished fellow Ernest Istook’s 2011 post revealing  —

“Untouchable.  That’s the treatment being given to the $23.6 billion being spent right now to implement Obamacare.”
This $23.6 billion is part of the $105.5 billion appropriated by the last Congress to fund Obamacare.  The remainder (Think of it as post-dated checks for the other $81.9 billion.) automatically becomes available between now and FY2019.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

“The most pressing question, however, is whether any of the current $23.6 billion will be rescinded as part of the spending reductions being pursued in Congress.
Despite campaign promises to defund Obamacare, it isn’t being done.  Why not?”

Readers will be even more astounded by reading all the Istook post.

We wish Dr. Harris the best in shrinking Leviathan, and we’ll be cheering on (and tracking) his efforts against Obamacare

But there is even more work — of special interest to Maryland and Virginia — for conservative appropriators.

Many readers in Maryland and Virginia are properly concerned about government support of “sustainability” or smart-growth efforts as well as so-called regionalism. (See Wendell Cox here and Cox, Ron Utt, and  Brett D. Schaefer here for the troubling details.)

We suggest a sovereign remedy to help curtail such initiatives of which PlanMaryland is just one example.

This is to cut off Federal taxpayer money going to advance these schemes. That is something  House appropriators can do.

Now that both Maryland and Virginia have a member on the House Appropriations panel – Virginia, after all, has a cardinal in veteran appropriator Frank Wolf — perhaps the opponents of smart growth and allied menaces in both states can make common cause on the Congressional level.

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