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Tom Cole's daunting task

Apr 11, 2024
House Appropriations Committee office

Sign on the Appropriations office. Photo: Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty Images

New Appropriations Chair Tom Cole hopes to get moving quickly on fiscal 2025 spending, but he's got a tough task ahead of him.

Why it matters: Cole is a D.C. institution whom Democrats widely respect. That could help calm the spending seas in committee, but chaos still reigns in the House.

Zoom in: Cole will have the spending caps from the debt ceiling deal as a guidepost, but House Republicans wrote their initial bills well below them last year.

  • Appropriators now have extremely limited time to get each bill out of committee and onto the floor.
  • Cole told reporters Wednesday that leadership wants to move "quickly" on topline spending numbers, but he hasn't had those meetings yet with Speaker Mike Johnson.
  • The Fiscal Responsibility Act "is subject to interpretation partly because of side deals, so that's not the same to me as getting a hard line. It gives me some guidance," he said.

What they're saying: "I'm glad that the majority party has chosen an experienced, level-headed individual to chair a very important committee," Rep. Marcy Kaptur told Axios.

  • Kaptur, the ranking member on Energy-Water, said her biggest concern isn't Cole but rather the House chaos that could again prevent lawmakers from moving bills to the floor.
  • "I'm hoping that he'll put a rigor in order back into the House, at least as far as the appropriations process is concerned," she said.
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