January 10, 2006

DeLay to chair NASA subcmte if he wins re-election?

National Journal (subscription required):

DeLay has served on [Appropriations] for nearly two decades, beginning in his second term in Congress in 1987, although he took a leave of absence once he became majority leader at the start of the 108th Congress. He has retained his seniority despite the leave of absence, and he will rank sixth among Republicans when he rejoins the panel. Committee tradition is to determine subcommittee assignments based on full committee seniority, so he could conceivably oust one of the 11 subcommittee "cardinals." DeLay has said he would not do so, at least in the short term, although he would be primed to take over a subcommittee beginning in the 110th Congress if he wins re-election in November.

In 2007, DeLay would have a clear path to cardinal status, as Science, State, Justice, Commerce Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Frank Wolf, R-Va., is term-limited. That subcommittee funds NASA's roughly $16 billion annual budget, a high priority for DeLay, who represents about 15,000 workers at the Houston-area Johnson Space Center. Before leaving the committee after the 107th Congress, DeLay served on the old VA-HUD panel, which funded NASA, as well as the Transportation Subcommittee, which has since been merged with housing programs. DeLay's spokesman said beyond rejoining the panel, DeLay has not discussed future subcommittee chairmanships.
An Appropriations cardinal can wield quite a bit of influence.

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