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Aderholt won’t challenge Cole for top Appropriations slot

Alabama Republican had been considering a run; wants to see changes to spending process

Rep. Robert B. Aderholt, R-Ala., had been coy about his plans since Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, announced she was stepping down.
Rep. Robert B. Aderholt, R-Ala., had been coy about his plans since Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, announced she was stepping down. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The field of candidates to become the next House Appropriations Committee chair is officially down to just one, as Rep. Robert B. Aderholt will not run against Rep. Tom Cole for the role at Tuesday night’s GOP Steering Committee meeting.

Aderholt, the current Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee chairman, had been pondering a run against Cole but has decided against it, an Aderholt spokesman said in an emailed statement Tuesday. 

“The Congressman is not seeking the chairmanship,” Aderholt spokesman Carson Clark said. “He wanted to use the vacancy though as an opportunity to voice his concerns and his ideas of how the process can be reformed. It needs to work better for members and ultimately the taxpayers in our country.” 

Cole, the Transportation-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee chairman, is now in position to secure the support of the Steering Committee unopposed. The full House GOP conference will need to ratify the selection at its Wednesday meeting, but that is considered to be a formality. 

After Appropriations Chairwoman Kay Granger, R-Texas, announced she would be stepping aside from the role last month, Cole jumped into the race. Aderholt expressed interest but didn’t officially throw his hat in the ring.

But Cole, R-Okla., quickly consolidated support, and GOP leaders last week rejected Aderholt’s request last week to delay the Steering Committee vote.

Aderholt, R-Ala., laid out changes to the appropriations process he wished to see in a Tuesday Roll Call op-ed, including increased input by authorizers in the appropriations process and universal agreement by each of the four subcommittee leaders on earmarks.

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