An e-mail that makes an excellent point about my appropriations post:
Your comment about the approps chairmen cleaning on their desks I think misses the nuance of this particular committee on the Hill. It is the most bipartisan of the committees and, while there will certainly be some staff shake ups, there is truth to the old adage that on Capitol Hill there are three parties — Republicans, Democrats and Appropriators. The front office staff (those that make the big decisions and are loyal to Lewis) will change, but my guess is that there will be only modest changes at the subcommittee staff level. Remember, as big and as porky as those bills have become, they still pass the House overwhelmingly – all of them passed the House this year (with the exception of the one we didn’t do) with over 300 votes. Furthermore, the appropriators are the only committee on the Hill that controls their own budget (through the legislative branch approps bill). Every other committee must go through leadership and the House Administration committee budget approval process. This is why cultural change – not simply partisan change – is really the most important thing when it comes to reforming the approps process. And this is why the earmark reform the House enacted in September was so very important (and fought so vigorously by the appropriators).