Canton Repository

February 17, 2005

Regula reappointed vice chairman of appropriations

By Paul M. Krawzak
Copley News Service

WASHINGTON — Though he failed to win the chairmanship of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Ralph Regula, R-Bethlehem Township, has retained the No. 2 spot on the panel under the new chairman.

Appropriations Committee Chairman Jerry Lewis, R-Calif., this week named Regula vice chairman of the committee.

Regula also will retain the coveted chairmanship of the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Subcommittee, which controls the second-largest block of federal spending on the committee.

In a significant change, Regula is moving from the Interior Subcommittee, which funds the national park system, to a newly constituted Transportation, Treasury and Housing Subcommittee.

“I think the transportation (committee), given its expanded jurisdiction, is the best committee for the state of Ohio and for the 16th District,” Regula said. He requested assignment to the subcommittee after serving on the Interior Subcommittee for decades.

In his new assignment, Regula will help determine how to spend dollars allocated for highways and air travel, public housing, drug-control programs and the General Services Administration, among a slew of other agencies and programs.

“Transportation, we do have a bit of transportation in Ohio,” he said. “Airports, we do have a few. HUD, housing and urban development, we have a lot of housing and urban development.”

Since he became chairman of the Labor, Health and Human Services Subcommittee four years ago, Regula has steered millions of dollars in federal earmarks to hospitals, colleges, businesses and projects in his district and Ohio.

Under a reorganization proposed by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, and adopted by the appropriations committee this week, Regula’s new subcommittee also will oversee spending in the District of Columbia.

Regula, first elected in 1972, ranks second in seniority on the appropriations committee. He served as vice chairman under the previous appropriations chairman, Rep. Bill Young, R-Fla. When Lewis succeeded Young, it was unclear whether Regula would keep the post.

He said the vice chairmanship involves filling in for the chairman when he is absent.

“And I think also he (Lewis) would counsel with me on various aspects of administration. That’s what he told me,” Regula said. He expects to have more duties as vice chairman under Lewis, he added.

Regula campaigned for the chairmanship of the committee but lost out to Lewis when Republican House leaders chose a new appropriations head Jan. 5.

During his years on the Interior Subcommittee, including six as chairman, Regula gained a reputation for his efforts to maintain national parks and strike a balance between environmentalists, private property owners and business interests.

Regula expects to continue to have influence on the Interior Subcommittee even though he no longer serves on it, he said. Under a new rule that limits subcommittee chairmen to two subcommittees, Regula also gave up his seat on another subcommittee, which funded the Departments of Commerce, Justice and State.

Lewis sought and received the committee’s approval to reduce the number of appropriations subcommittees to 10 from 13. Several subcommittee chairmen, but not Regula, lost their chairmanships as a result. So far, the Senate has rejected House entreaties to adopt a similar reorganization plan for its appropriations committee.

Regula continues to serve on the Smithsonian Board of Regents, the governing body of the research institution. His term lasts until 2006.