After months of ducking inquiries as to whether he will keep his seat on the Appropriations Committee, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) decided to step aside to let another Member win a spot on the panel.
As is the tradition of the top two leaders in the majority party, DeLay will take a leave of absence from Appropriations, allowing him to retain his seniority status if he should want to rejoin at some point in the future.
DeLay, concerned that Houston would no longer have a representative on the powerful spending committee, put off the decision for nearly a year while he worked behind the scenes to ensure that sophomore Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas) would win a seat. Culberson represents the wealthy Houston suburbs, home to a number of high-tech firms and corporate headquarters.
“Now [DeLay] can focus solely on being the Majority Leader, but he is also a Congressman and it’s important not to leave Houston without representation,” said DeLay spokesman Stuart Roy.
Culberson joins GOP Reps. Dave Weldon (Fla.), Mike Simpson (Idaho), Mark Kirk (Ill.) and Ander Crenshaw (Fla.) as newcomers to the panel.