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Kingston Launches Bid for Approps Gavel

Rep. Jack Kingston on Friday became the latest House Republican to formally throw his hat into the ring in the race for the Appropriations Committee gavel.

In a letter to the House Republican Conference, the Georgia Republican cited his conservative credentials and ability to cut spending on the committee as reasons he would be the best choice for the post.

“As Chairman of the Legislative Branch Subcommittee when Republican spending was at its worst, I cut the budget by 1% (not a decrease of the increase),” Kingston wrote. “ I also introduced a number of reforms such as privatizing the power plant, reining in the runaway spending at the Capitol Visitors Center, and stopping the explosion in the Capitol Police force.”

Kingston is the third member to publicly declare his interest in the chairmanship.

Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.), the current ranking member of the panel, and Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) are also seeking the gavel.

Lewis, who will reach the end of three consecutive terms as the top Republican at the end of this Congress, needs a waiver from the GOP Steering Committee to become chairman.

The chairman will face the challenge of running a spending committee without the ability to earmark, because of the GOP’s earmark moratorium, which passed earlier this week.

Kingston cited a 2007 bill he authored with Reps. Frank Wolf (Va.) and Zach Wamp (Tenn.) as proof he was ready to tackle the earmark reform issue.

“It garnered a range of support from members like [former Rep.] Chris Shays (Conn.) to Jeff Flake (Ariz.),” Kingston wrote. “This bill called for a moratorium on earmarks coupled with bipartisan hearings to define and reform them.”

The House Republican Steering Committee will meet after the Thanksgiving recess to vote on all panel chairs.