House spending panel chief ripped for pork

Dec. 10, 2010 at 10:32 AM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 10 (UPI) -- Conservative Republicans say they're outraged that a veteran U.S. lawmaker with a history of seeking earmarks is tapped to lead a key spending committee.

Conservative activist Richard Viguerie said the election of Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., to lead the Appropriation Committee when Republicans assume control of the House of Representatives in January "should cause all conservatives and Tea Partiers to doubt how serious the Republican leadership is about cleaning up the culture of waste, seniority and corruption in Congress," The Hill reported.

"Grassroots conservatives are unhappy with the status quo in Washington, and Speaker-designate (John) Boehner needs to balance this slap in the face with something to show conservatives that he is truly committed to reversing the size of government," Viguerie wrote in his blog Thursday.

Boehner sought to avert criticism of the new appropriations committee by naming Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and other reform-minded freshmen GOP lawmakers to the panel, The Hill said.

"I don't want to second-guess Boehner, and he's not the one who makes all of these decisions," Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., said. "I like the fact they put Jeff Flake on appropriations. Hal Rogers may be sorry for the day he became chairman with Jeff on that committee."

Democrats joined the chorus, distributing releases highlighting coverage of Rogers and his nickname as the "Prince of Pork," The Hill reported.

Republicans are under pressure from conservative activists to demonstrate the will to corral spending and waste. As part of their response to the challenge, House and Senate Republicans have adopted a voluntary moratorium on earmarking.

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