Your morning jolt: Georgia’s Jack Kingston as chairman of House Appropriations Committee?

Backed by an endorsement this week from the Wall Street Journal, U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Savannah, is said to be angling for the chairmanship of the House Appropriations Committee.

He may have a chance. Who wants to sit in the most uncomfortable chair in Congress? From

U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Savannah. AP

U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Savannah. AP

[T]he Appropriations Committee just doesn’t seem to be the plum assignment it once was, and the line is short for new recruits to join a panel where the longtime focus on bringing home earmarks and other goodies will shift to finding $100 billion in spending cuts. Even conservative reformers who do get assigned to the committee are likely to be stymied once their appropriations bills reach the floor and get amended to death, then potentially earmarked into oblivion by a Democratic Senate.

“Anybody who’s a Republican right now, come June, is going to be accused of hating seniors, hating education, hating children, hating clean air and probably hating the military and farmers, too,” said Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), a fiscal conservative who is lobbying to become chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. “So much of the work is going to be appropriations related. There’s going to be a lot of tough votes. So some people may want to shy away from the committee. I understand it.”

Kingston said he’s asked U.S. Reps. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., and Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga., to join the budget committee, and was turned down by both.

In the competition for the chairmanship, the wind beneath Kingston’s wings are these paragraphs at the bottom of a Tuesday editorial in the Wall Street Journal on the topic of federal spending:

The larger test will be how Republicans decide to address Congress’s overall culture of spending, and especially the engines of that culture, the Appropriations Committees. California Republican Jerry Lewis, a former Chairman during the desiccated end of the last House GOP majority, wants a special term-limit waiver to return to that post. He’s desperate enough to get the job that he’s even endorsed a committee seat for Arizona’s Jeff Flake, a noted and heretofore lonely scourge of earmarks.

Such a waiver would be a terrible signal to voters and Members alike, but the next Republican in line by seniority, Harold Rogers of Kentucky, was also one of those who ruined GOP credibility on spending in the Bush years. We think the leadership would be better off reaching down the ranks to elevate Georgia’s Jack Kingston, who has an admirable B+ National Taxpayers Union rating and would carry a reform mandate.

Speaker-presumptive John Boehner could also strengthen Mr. Kingston’s hand by adding Mr. Flake and even some freshmen fiscal hawks to the spending panel. The same goes for Messrs. Coburn and DeMint in the Senate. The Appropriations Committees have a mysterious way of converting even the staunchest tight wads into spendthrifts, so we also recommend a six-year term limit for Appropriations membership.

Earmarks, or “redirects,” have been the topic of the week for Republicans in Washington. On Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss issued a statement declaring that he would support an earmark moratorium – with exceptions for emergency spending, including $551 million for the dredging of the Port of Savannah.

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson said much the same thing. From the Associated Press:

Isakson also said he would continue fight for funding for the state while also working to cut federal spending.

“I agree we should not be funding projects that are frivolous or nonessential functions of the federal government,” Isakson said.

Although both senators have resorted to earmarks, Chambliss has secured far more in earmarks than Isakson, according to Legistorm, a website that compiles federal earmark data.

According to the site, Chambliss has been the sole sponsor on 47 earmarks worth $580.5 million from fiscal year 2008-2010. He has been a co-sponsor 313 earmarks worth $1.7 billion. His name has appeared on $2.3 billion worth of earmarks.

Most of Chambliss’ larger earmarks have been for Georgia’s military bases, such as construction of trainee barracks at Fort Benning and other infrastructure improvements at Fort Stewart.

Isakson secured 11 solo earmarks worth $5.6 million. He co-sponsored 251 earmarks worth $1.65 billion. Isakson’s name has appeared on a total of $1.65 billion in earmarks. Among his larger earmarks was a peer reviewed breast cancer research treatment program with several other senators.

He and Chambliss also collaborated on a little over $200 million in earmarks for a regional security operations center in Augusta, Ga.

The National Journal this morning puts U.S. Rep. John Barrow, D-Savannah, at the top of its list of most vulnerable members of Congress when it comes to redistricting:

Barrow is no stranger to redistricting: In 2005, he chose to run in a more Democratic district that didn’t include his home base of Clarke County—after a court ruled the original Democratic-drawn lines were unconstitutional.

With Republicans in control of the process this time around and the state expected to gain a seat in reapportionment, Republicans have an opportunity to squeeze Democratic strongholds around Augusta and Savannah into more Republican districts, which could leave Barrow without both a home and a political base.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has taken himself out of the 2012 presidential sweepstakes. From the Associated Press:

Republicans are seeking hopefuls to challenge President Barack Obama, but the 39-year-old governor said his only political ambition is to run for governor again next year.

“I’m not being coy at all. I’m not running for president in 2012. Period. No ifs, ands or buts, no caveats,” Jindal told The Associated Press in an interview. “We have made great progress in Louisiana, but we’ve got a lot more work to do.”

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15 comments Add your comment


November 17th, 2010
9:06 am

Kingston should not be appropriations chair. He is not a fiscal conservative.


November 17th, 2010
9:47 am

I’m sure that Governor Perdue would hate to see all the work he’s put in to getting the Ports’ Authority to take care of his personal business interest (at our expense) go to waste, if Saxby and Jack, and Johnny can’t secure the money to dredge the Port of Savannah. So, Sonny’s really not a fiscal conservative after all, is he? Are you who voted for him surprised that neither Jack, Saxby, Johnny or Sonny are fiscal conservatives (unless it’s to cut funding for an earmark wanted by a Democrat)?


November 17th, 2010
10:07 am

I find Kingston’s work to protect businesses using illegal labor to be reprehensible. The last thing our country needs is Kingston with more power.

The Snark

November 17th, 2010
10:17 am

Glad to hear neither Bachmann nor Westmoreland will be on Appropriations. That committee needs people with brains in their skulls.


November 17th, 2010
10:44 am

Boy, it speaks volumes that ole Jacko here wants airhead Bachman and “non-10 Commandments knowing” Westmoreland to join his committee…..speaks even more that they DECLINED!!!!

When will white folks in GA realize they are getting hoodwinked by their repubs. GA is controlled by R, but the state is in worst shape than 10 years ago.

Just a tax paying Georgian

November 17th, 2010
11:04 am

I am glad to see Jack stepping up to take on the challenge. Jack you have my support. Just remember, the more you make them (special interest groups) scream the better job you are doing for the American People. Good Luck.


November 17th, 2010
11:25 am

jack is a geek, but a pretty good guy. i am not sure anybody from georgia is qualified to chair the HA committee though.
as for jindal, give us a break – this wooden statue tries so hard to fake charisma it’s laughable.


November 17th, 2010
12:11 pm

Jack for governor in 2018!!!!!


November 17th, 2010
12:32 pm

Kingston is a dud. He, in the past, has routinely voted against appropriations for his own district that he knew would pass anyway. He then would appear at ribbon-cuttings and other events to take credit for what he was against before he was for them.

He retains his position because big money in southeast Georgia sees to it. They know he is their boy.

Jack P

November 17th, 2010
1:01 pm

Kingston is my man. He has an A+ rating from the NRA. Way to go Jack. Keep up the good work. Georgians are proud of you.

You Asked

November 17th, 2010
1:12 pm


Guess what the Port being dredged benefits you and every other Georgian who depends on our agricultural and manufacturing exports to the rest of the world.

Would you rather have a Governor who says “Let’s see, what can I do in office that would be bad for my business and every other Georgia business? I know ignore our state infrasctructure!”

The Centrist

November 17th, 2010
1:30 pm

You Asked. Conservative have been elected to eliminate all Federal government handouts. While dredging the Savannah River Port is a worthy cause, it is State owned and Georgia should handle its own business. While Saxby was crying about government handouts, he got $2.3 billion in earmarks since being re-elected including the $300,000 for a Coach Stop in Savannah, and $81,000 for what the John Birch Society arm of the Tea Party would call a communist plot in Barnesville called the National Fluoridation Training Institute.

The Centrist

November 17th, 2010
1:32 pm

You Asked. We have a Governor-Elect that has already proven that he will do what is good for HIS business.


November 17th, 2010
3:00 pm

Jack would be a great Appropriations Chairman- he is one of the most honest guys in DC, works hard and has one of the best staffs on and off the hill.

Look at his work as ranking member of the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee- working with Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut his subcommittee is the only one to produce a bill that comes in under budget year after year


November 18th, 2010
11:05 am

You asked

It’s amazing to me how willing Republican voters are to accept the possibly-illegal (certainly unethical) conduct of their Governor because it may benefit a handful of others. I have a suggestion: Why doesn’t $onny direct his Dept. of Economic Development and the Ports Authority to actively recruit Georgia businesses that could benefit from all their advice, and the wait until he’s out of office and make money on his own time, not ours?

What do ya say, You Asked? Doesn’t that reduce the odor of his activities considerably, or is it because he’s a Republican whose defintion of “free market economy” means making money on someone else’s time and money.