Many conservatives have already voiced their displeasure with the House Republican leadership’s decision to appoint Rep. Jo Bonner (R-Ala.) to the Appropriations Committee instead of Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.). As righteous as conservative anger is over the decision, it might be more useful to look forward.
After Bonner’s appointment was announced, Congressional Quarterly wrote a story, “Path to Appropriations May Not Follow Money.” The piece noted that under former Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), there was a pay-to-play system Republican members had to participate in to get on the Appropriations Committee. But CQ said, the choice of Bonner over National Republican Congressional Committee chairman Tom Cole (R-Okla.) showed that this policy might be changing. Unfortunately, later in the day Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) promised Cole he would get a seat on the committee next year.
If the Republicans want to credibly claim they are actually changing the culture of spending in their own conference, Boehner ought to make one more promise: to appoint proven anti-pork fighter Flake to the Appropriations Committee next year as well. That will be a clear sign to conservatives that GOP promises to rein in earmarks are more than just lip service.