Regula to lead key spending committee
By PAUL M. KRAWZAK
Repository Washington correspondent
WASHINGTON — Rep. Ralph Regula has been selected to head a key House appropriations subcommittee that helps shape federal spending on employment, education and health programs.
Regula, R-Bethlehem Township, will become chairman of the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Subcommittee, Rep. Bill Young, R-Fla., chairman of the full Appropriations Committee, said
Regula’s new post, along with the appointment of two Ohio congressmen to chair full House committees, is expected to increase the state’s clout in Congress.
The two Ohio legislators named to head committees are Rep. Mi-chael G. Oxley, R-Findlay, who will become chairman of the newly created Financial Services Committee, and Rep. John A. Boehner, R-West Chester, who will be chairman of the Education and Workforce Committee.
Their appointments were approved by the House GOP membership Thursday after a review of recommendations from a Republican Steering Committee of which Regula is a member.
‘‘This is the strongest position the Ohio delegation has been in in modern times,’’ Oxley said. ‘‘It translates into enormous political power not just for the delegation but for the whole state.’’
Young said he tapped Regula, a 28-year House veteran, for his new assignment because he’s a ‘‘very strong leader, he’s a no-nonsense congressman and I have total confidence in him.’’
Young called the subcommittee ‘‘extremely important,’’ noting that it controls more than $100 billion in spending a year, second only to the defense appropriations subcommittee.
Regula’s appointment will give him great influence over federal spending on elementary and secondary education, jobs programs, mental health, medical research and other related programs.
For the past six years, Regula has served as chairman of the Appropriations Committee’s interior subcommittee, which controls spending on federal lands. Regula had to give up that assignment because of a House GOP rule that sets a six-year limit for chairing a committee or subcommittee.
Regula worked into the night as the Steering Committee discussed committee assignments and was unavailable for comment.
Because of their sway over spending decisions, the 13 appropriations subcommittee chairs informally are known as the House ‘‘cardinals.’’
Another Ohio congressman, Rep. Bob Ney, R-St. Clairsville, is a candidate for chairman of the House Administration Committee, the only committee still awaiting a chairman. Rep. Vern Ehlers of Michigan
also is being considered for the post.
Unlike other committees whose chairmen need approval from the full House GOP membership, the chairman of the Administration Committee is appointed by the House speaker.
Asked about that appointment, House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Illinois, said he hoped to fill the position ‘‘very soon. I haven’t set a time,’’ he added.