It’s a Wrap: Rogers Finishes Chairmanship as House Passes Stopgap

The suites at the House Appropriations Committee will soon grow quiet after the panel saw its latest government spending stopgap passed by the House as one of the last items of business of the 114th Congress.

Rather than a huge omnibus containing the 11 bills the committee wrote, the measure the House passed is simply another continuing resolution, which appropriators compare to having the government on “autopilot.” Work on resurrecting the measures may resume in January, though lawmakers said it will be a struggle to advance them while also tackling next year’s budget.

Action on another CR was a frustrating end of Committee Chairman Hal Rogers’ six-year term, one marked by constant Republican Conference skirmishes over the discretionary spending levels his committee sets, particularly for non-defense programs. 

Hal Rogers

“At the end of the day, a CR is simply a Band-Aid on a gushing wound,” Rogers said. “This is no way to run a railroad—it’s bad for Congress, bad for the federal government, and bad for our country.”

Rogers made clear he didn’t want the passage of the stopgap running to the end of April to obscure the work the committee put into developing the 12 regular appropriations bills each year for the past six years. Before the bill was passed Rogers reminded lawmakers of the committee’s ups and downs with a “by the numbers” reflection of his chairmanship.

  • 650—hearings held by Appropriations subcommittees;
  • 140—appropriations bills considered on the House floor;
  • 19—appropriations bills considered in just one month: October 2013;
  • 12—appropriations bills Congress should pass every year;
  • 2,122—floor amendments considered to the appropriations bills;
  • 555—floor hours spent debating appropriations bills;
  • 70—appropriations bill enacted into law;
  • $2 trillion—dollars saved in discretionary outlays due to appropriators’ work;
  • Too many to count—“the number of cigars smoked in my office—and they were NOT all me”;
  • 1—basketball championships won by the University of Kentucky;
  • 70—“mighty fine members’’ that have served on the committee over the past six years;
  • Incalculable—“hours our staff, the best on Capitol Hill, have put in their tireless work on behalf of all of us.”

Before the halls grew silent as the House departed Rogers joined the staff for a party that marked the end of his chairmanship. Attending was Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.), who will chair the panel in the 115th Congress.