There is a United States House Committee on Appropriations and there is a United States Senate Committee on Appropriations. An Appropriations Committee appointment usually has been coveted for its ability to make earmarks and bring “pork barrel” spending into a politician’s home district.
The saying, “There are three parties in Congress; Republicans, Democrats and Appropriators,” means that “pork barrel” spending is nonpartisan. Arizona Senator John McCain has campaigned against earmarks and has often used the saying (which has been cited in print since at least 1999).
Wikipedia: United States House Committee on Appropriations
The Committee on Appropriations is a committee of the United States House of Representatives. It is in charge of setting the specific expenditures of money by the government of the United States. As such, it is one of the most powerful of the committees, and its members are seen as influential.
The constitutional basis for the Appropriations Committee comes from Article one, Section nine, Clause seven of the U.S. Constitution, which states that:
No money shall be drawn from the treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law; and a regular statement and account of receipts and expenditures of all public money shall be published from time to time.
This clearly delegated the power of appropriating money to Congress, but was vague beyond that. Originally, the power of appropriating was taken by the Committee on Ways and Means, but the United States Civil War placed a large burden on the Congress, and at the end of that conflict, a reorganization occurred.
The Committee was created on December 11, 1865, when the House separated the tasks of the Committee on Ways and Means into three parts. The passage of legislation affecting taxes remained with Ways and Means. The power to regulate banking was transferred to the Committee on Banking and Commerce. The power to appropriate money—to control the federal pursestrings—was given to the newly-created Appropriations Committee.
Wikipedia: United States Senate Committee on Appropriations
The United States Senate Committee on Appropriations is a standing committee of the United States Senate. It has jurisdiction over all discretionary spending legislation in the Senate.
the entrance to the Senate Appropriations Committee in the United States CapitolThe Senate Appropriations Committee is the largest committee in the U.S. Senate, consisting of 29 members. Its role is defined by the U.S. Constitution, which requires “appropriations made by law” prior to the expenditure of any money from the Treasury, and is therefore one of the most powerful committees in the Senate. The committee was first organized on March 6, 1867, when power over appropriations was taken out of the hands of the Finance Committee.
The chairman of the Appropriations Committee has enormous power to bring home special projects (sometimes referred to as “pork barrel spending") for his or her state as well as having the final say on other Senator’s appropriation requests. For example, in fiscal year 2005 per capita federal spending in Alaska, the home state of then-Chairman Ted Stevens, was $12,000, double the national average. Alaska has 11,772 special earmarked projects for a combined cost of $15,780,623,000. This represents about 4% of the overall spending in the $388 billion Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2005 passed by Congress.
Google Groups: alt.tv.pol-incorrect
From: “Richard G Cheek”
Subject: Re: I am sick of these gun-grabbing Leftists!
There are three parties in Washington, a friend told me; the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, and the Appropriations Party. The latter party has been in power without interuption for 67 years.
14 November 2001, Chicago (IL) Daily Herald, “Anti-terrorism money ends up in wrong places” by Cal Thomas, sec. 1, pg. 12, col. 5:
Paul Weyrich, president of the Free Congress Foundation, believes there are three political parties: Republicans, Democrats and appropriators.
Worth the Fighting for
By John McCain
New York, NY: Random House
There are, it is often observed, three parties in Congress, Republicans, Democrats, and appropriators.
Google Groups: alt.politics.bush
From: (jose soplar)
Date: 15 May 2003 09:17:23 -0700
Local: Thurs, May 15 2003 11:17 am
Subject: How a no-name GOP pol could affect next year’s presidential drama
Toomey says, “We’ve got three parties in Congress—Republicans, Democrats and Appropriators.”
Tapscott’s Copy Desk
Monday, November 07, 2005
PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Coburn to “Challenge Every Earmark,” Including “Bridge to Nowhere,” Again
There are “three parties in Washington these days, the Democrats, the Republicans and the Appropriators, that’s the culture we have to change,” Coburn said, referring to Young and other powerful Members of congressional appropriations committees.
Campaign Politics and Conservative Policies
By Ed Gillespie
New York, NY: Simon and Schuster
It’s no surprise that GOP leaders traditionally hailed from the House Appropriations Committee—the committee responsible for spending our money. (Even today there remains widespread sentiment that there are actually three parties in Congress: Republicans, Democrats, and Appropriators.)
26 November 2006, Syracuse (NY) Post-Standard, “Some things never change” by Cal Thomas, pg. A8, col. 4:
Tom Schatz, president of the watchdog group, Citizens Against Government Waste, has noted, “There are three parties in Washington; Democrats, Republicans and appropriators.”
New York (NY) Times
Senate Defeats Effort to Remove Earmarks
By DAVID M. HERSZENHORN
Published: March 3, 2009
WASHINGTON — In his latest crusade against the process lawmakers use to finance home-state projects known as earmarks, Senator John S. McCain took to the Senate floor this week with an arsenal of numbers, sharply criticizing the $410 billion omnibus spending bill as 2,967 pages of text, teeming with 9,000 earmarks
At a news conference on Tuesday, Mr. McCain emphasized that his complaint was not a partisan one.
“In all due respect, I have said there’s three kinds of members of Congress: Democrats, Republicans and appropriators,” he said, in reference to the Appropriations Committee members who often get the majority of earmarks.
May 24, 2010
The Gathering Revolt Against Government Spending
This month, three members of Congress have been beaten in their bids for re-election—a Republican senator from Utah, a Democratic congressman from West Virginia and a Republican-turned-Democrat senator from Pennsylvania. Their records and their curricula vitae are different. But they all have one thing in common: They are members of an appropriations committee.
Like most appropriators, they have based much of their careers on bringing money to their states and districts. There is an old saying on Capitol Hill that there are three parties—Democrats, Republicans and appropriators. One reason that it has been hard to hold down government spending is that appropriators of both parties have an institutional and political interest in spending.
New York (NY) Times
Spending Posts Now a Liability for Lawmakers
By CARL HULSE
Published: August 12, 2010
WASHINGTON — Membership on the Appropriations Committee used to be a first-class ticket to Congressional success, guaranteeing lucky lawmakers the ability to campaign on the federal money they had lavished on the folks back home. But the era of the appropriator appears to be on the wane.
It is a striking turn of events for members of a committee considered so elite that its subcommittee chairmen were known universally as Cardinals. A common saying on Capitol Hill was that there are actually three parties in Congress — Republicans, Democrats and Appropriators.
New York City • Government/Law/Politics/Military • (0) Comments • Sunday, September 19, 2010 • Permalink