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Cole gets Steering Committee nod for House Appropriations gavel

Next step is full GOP conference ratification, expected Wednesday

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., nominates Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, for speaker on Oct. 18, 2023. Jordan's unsuccessful bid led to Speaker Mike Johnson's election the following week.
Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., nominates Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, for speaker on Oct. 18, 2023. Jordan's unsuccessful bid led to Speaker Mike Johnson's election the following week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole will almost certainly be the next chairman of the House Appropriations Committee after the House GOP Steering Committee unanimously backed him for the role Tuesday night.

Cole, who ran unopposed, will next need to be ratified by the full conference on Wednesday, a step that is considered a formality. He is replacing Appropriations Chairwoman Kay Granger, R-Texas, who announced she was stepping down from the role last month. 

Cole’s only potential competitor, Rep. Robert B. Aderholt, R-Ala., announced Tuesday he would not run. Aderholt, the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee chairman, had expressed some interest in the job and asked the Steering Committee to delay its selection, which was denied.

The current Rules Committee chairman, Cole, R-Okla., has been the top Republican on three Appropriations subcommittees: Transportation-HUD, his current post, as well as Labor-HHS-Education and Legislative Branch previously.

Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., said Tuesday he’ll nominate Rep. Michael C. Burgess, R-Texas, for the Rules chairman slot to replace Cole. The speaker’s Rules pick skips a Steering Commitee vote and goes straight to the full conference for ratification.

Cole inherits the job with a wide range of House Republicans upset about how the fiscal 2024 process wrapped up, with a majority of the conference voting against the final $1.2 trillion package that Cole and most of the Steering Committee supported.

Some of those grievances, which have contributed to a possible motion to oust Johnson by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., may get an airing during Wednesday’s GOP conference meeting.

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