Canton Repository

November 19, 2004

Regula pitches fiscal discipline to fellow Republicans

By Paul M. Krawzak
Copley News Service

WASHINGTON — Rep. Ralph Regula told House conservatives Thursday that if chosen to head the powerful House Appropriations Committee, he’ll strive to slow down growth in government spending.

Regula, R-Bethlehem Township, discussed his plans before that conservative group, the Republican Study Committee, as well as the more moderate Tuesday Group, as part of his bid to become the next appropriations chairman.

“We need to be very much concerned that we slow down the growth of spending and boost economic growth,” he said after the meetings, which were closed to reporters. “If the economy grows and there are more jobs, it will help to alleviate the pressure on the federal budget.”

Regula told the study committee that Republicans in the House and Senate as well as President Bush “ought to try to agree on what our goals are, what do we want our legacy to be, because the Republicans are in control of everything. And therefore, we need to determine what our fiscal policy should be.”

Regula is vying with two other appropriations committee members, Reps. Jerry Lewis, R-Calif., and Harold Rogers, R-Ky., for the powerful post. Lewis and Rogers appeared before the groups separately.

The Republican Steering Committee, a group of more than 24 House GOP leaders, plans to meet the first week of January to appoint the next chairman.

“I thought they went very well,” Regula said of the meetings. He added that both groups could influence the decision, since they count House leaders and lawmakers on the steering committee among their members. However, at this point, neither group has chosen to make a recommendation to the steering committee.

As evidence of his commitment to reduce spending growth, Regula said he has held to 2 percent the increase in a $143 billion appropriations bill that he oversees. That measure is being folded into a larger bill that Congress hopes to vote on today or Saturday.

Rep. Mark Kirk, co-chairman of the Tuesday Group, said the impact of presentations to the groups could be subtler than an official recommendation.

“The very, very best lobbying of all, more than any other, is member to member,” the Illinois Republican said. “And as we are spending time on the floor tonight, we’ll all be talking about this and comparing notes with study group folks.”