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Cole favored to be next House Approps chair

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Apr 9, 2024
Rep. Tom Cole

Tom Cole at the Capitol. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The Republican Steering Committee is widely expected to pick veteran Rep. Tom Cole as the next House Appropriations chair Tuesday night, succeeding retiring Rep. Kay Granger.

Why it matters: Cole is a longtime advocate of increasing NIH funding and has a history of working across party lines.

Zoom in: Cole was previously chair of the Labor-HHS subcommittee, where he oversaw a large bump in funding for the NIH for the first time in 12 years.

  • He served as the top Republican on that subcommittee for six years.
  • His support of biomedical research is influenced by his father's battle with Alzheimer's disease and his wife's struggles with multiple sclerosis.

Between the lines: It was expected that current Labor-HHS cardinal Robert Aderholt was going to run for the top appropriations spot, but to date he has not formally announced.

  • Aderholt voted against the second appropriations minibus package, citing concerns with numerous earmarks senators added to the Labor-HHS title that he said funded projects "directed toward services for illegal immigrants and facilities providing routine abortion services."
  • Aderholt had also called for delaying the Steering Committee meeting, but the request didn't go anywhere.
  • Cole has the support of the majority of the other appropriations cardinals and he's also close to many of the Steering Committee members.

What's next: After the Steering Committee recommends a candidate for the role of Appropriations chair, that name goes to the full Republican conference for a vote.

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