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United States House Committee on Appropriations

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

House Appropriations Committee
Standing committee

United States House of Representatives
118th Congress
Committee logo
FormedDecember 11, 1865
ChairKay Granger (R)
Since January 3, 2023
Ranking memberRosa DeLauro (D)
Since January 3, 2023
Vice chairTom Cole (R)
Since January 3, 2023
Political partiesMajority (34)
  •   Republican (34)
Minority (27)
Policy areasAppropriations bills, Discretionary spending, Rescission bills
Oversight authorityFederal government of the United States
Senate counterpartSenate Committee on Appropriations

The United States House Committee on Appropriations is a committee of the United States House of Representatives that is responsible for passing appropriation bills along with its Senate counterpart.[1] The bills passed by the Appropriations Committee regulate expenditures of money by the government of the United States. As such, it is one of the most powerful committees, and its members are seen as influential.

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The constitutional basis for the Appropriations Committee comes from Article one, Section nine, Clause seven of the U.S. Constitution, which says:

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.

Early years

The Committee on Appropriations was created on December 11, 1865, when the U.S. House of Representatives separated the tasks of the Committee on Ways and Means into three parts.[2] 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 purse strings—was given to the newly created Appropriations Committee.

At the time of creation the membership of the committee stood at nine; it currently has 61 members.[2] The power of the committee has only grown since its founding; many of its members and chairmen have gone on to even higher posts. Four of them—Samuel Randall (D-PA), Joseph Cannon (R-IL), Joseph Byrns (D-TN) and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)—have gone on to become the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives; one, James Garfield, has gone on to become President of the United States.

The root of the Appropriations Committee's power is its ability to disburse funds, and thus as the United States federal budget has risen, so has the power of the Appropriations Committee. The first federal budget of the United States, in 1789, was for $639,000—a hefty sum for the time, but a much smaller amount relative to the economy than the federal budget would later become. By the time the Appropriations committee was founded, the Civil War and inflation had raised expenditures to roughly $1.3 billion, increasing the clout of Appropriations. Expenditures continued to follow this pattern—rising sharply during wars before settling down—for over 100 years.

Another important development for Appropriations occurred in the presidency of Warren G. Harding. Harding was the first president of the United States to deliver a budget proposal to Congress.

Recent times

In May 1945, when U.S. Representative Albert J. Engel queried extra funds for the Manhattan Project, the administration approved a visit to the Clinton Engineer Works at Oak Ridge (CEW) (and one to HEW if desired) by selected legislators, including Engel, Mahon, Snyder, John Taber and Clarence Cannon (the committee chairman). About a month earlier Taber and Cannon had nearly come to blows over the expenditure but, after visiting CEW, Taber asked General Groves and Colonel Nichols "Are you sure you're asking for enough money? Cannon commented "Well, I never expected to hear that from you, John."[3]

In the early 1970s, the Appropriations Committee faced a crisis. President Richard Nixon began "impounding" funds, not allowing them to be spent, even when Congress had specifically appropriated money for a cause. This was essentially a line-item veto. Numerous court cases were filed by outraged interest groups and members of Congress. Eventually, the sense that Congress needed to regain control of the budget process led to the adoption of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974, which finalized the budget process in its current form.


The Appropriations committee is widely recognized by political scientists as one of the "power committees",[citation needed] since it holds the power of the purse. Openings on the Appropriations committee are often hotly demanded, and are doled out as rewards. It is one of the "exclusive" committees of the House, meaning its members typically sit on no other committee. Under House Rules, an exception to this is that five Members of the Appropriations Committee must serve on the House Budget Committee—three for the majority and two for the minority. Much of the power of the committee comes from the inherent utility of controlling spending. Its subcommittee chairs are often called "Cardinals", likening them to the most senior members of the Catholic Church, because of the power they wield over the budget.

Since the House is elected from single-member districts, securing financing for projects in the district can help a member to be reelected as the funds can create jobs and raise economic performance. This type of spending is derided by critics as pork barrel spending, while those who engage in it generally defend it as necessary and appropriate expenditure of government funds. The members of the Appropriations committee can do this better than most, and better direct funding towards another member's district, increasing the stature of committee members in the House and helping them gain support for their priorities, including seeking leadership positions or other honors.

The committee tends to be less partisan than other committees or the House overall. While the minority party will offer amendments during committee consideration, appropriations bills often get significant bipartisan support, both in committee and on the House floor. This atmosphere can be attributed to the fact that all committee members have a compelling interest in ensuring legislation will contain money for their own districts. Conversely, because members of this committee can easily steer money to their home districts, it is considered very difficult to unseat a member of this committee at an election—especially if he or she is a "Cardinal".

In addition, the ability to appropriate money is useful to lobbyists and interest groups; as such, being on Appropriations makes it easier to collect campaign contributions (see: campaign finance).


The Appropriations Committee has one of the largest jurisdictions of any federal committee. Under Rule 10 of the House rules, the committee's jurisdiction is defined as:

  1. Appropriation of the revenue for the support of the Government
  2. Rescissions of appropriations contained in appropriations Acts
  3. Transfers of unexpected balances
  4. Bills and joint resolutions reported by other committees that provide new entitlement authority as defined in section 3(9) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 and referred to the committee under clause 4(a)(2)

Members, 118th Congress

A committee meeting in July 2020
Majority Minority

Resolutions electing members: H.Res. 14 (Chair), H.Res. 15 (Ranking Member), H.Res. 56 (R), H.Res. 60 (D), H.Res. 913 (R)


Reorganization in 2007

In 2007, the number of subcommittees was increased to 12 at the start of the 110th Congress. This reorganization, developed by Chairman David Obey and his Senate counterpart, Robert Byrd, for the first time provided for common subcommittee structures between both houses, a move that both chairmen hoped will allow Congress to "complete action on each of the government funding on time for the first time since 1994".[4]

The new structure added the Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, and transferred jurisdiction over Legislative Branch appropriations from the full committee to a newly reinstated Legislative Branch Subcommittee, which had not existed since the 108th Congress.

List of subcommittees

Subcommittee Chair[5] Ranking Member[6]
Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Andy Harris (R-MD) Sanford Bishop (D-GA)
Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Hal Rogers (R-KY) Matt Cartwright (D-PA)
Defense Ken Calvert (R-CA) Betty McCollum (D-MN)
Energy and Water Development Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN) Marcy Kaptur (D-OH)
Financial Services and General Government Steve Womack (R-AR) Steny Hoyer (D-MD)
Homeland Security David Joyce (R-OH) Henry Cuellar (D-TX)
Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Mike Simpson (R-ID) Chellie Pingree (D-ME)
Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Robert Aderholt (R-AL) Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)
Legislative Branch Mark Amodei (R-NV) Adriano Espaillat (D-NY)
Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies John Carter (R-TX) Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL)
State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) Barbara Lee (D-CA)
Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Tom Cole (R-OK) Mike Quigley (D-IL)

Historical rosters

A social distancing-style meeting of the committee in July 2020

117th Congress

Majority Minority

Resolutions electing members: H.Res. 9 (Chair), H.Res. 10 (Ranking Member), H.Res. 62 (D), H.Res. 63 (R), H.Res. 1347 (D)

Subcommittee Chair[7] Ranking Member[8]
Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Sanford Bishop (D-GA) Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE)
Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Matt Cartwright (D-PA) Robert Aderholt (R-AL)
Defense Betty McCollum (D-MN) Ken Calvert (R-CA)
Energy and Water Development Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) Mike Simpson (R-ID)
Financial Services and General Government Mike Quigley (D-IL) Steve Womack (R-AR)
Homeland Security Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN)
Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Chellie Pingree (D-ME) Dave Joyce (R-OH)
Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) Tom Cole (R-OK)
Legislative Branch Tim Ryan (D-OH) Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA)
Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) John Carter (R-TX)
State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Barbara Lee (D-CA) Hal Rogers (R-KY)
Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies David Price (D-NC) Mario Díaz-Balart (R-FL)

116th Congress

Majority Minority

Resolutions electing members: H.Res. 7 (Chair), H.Res. 8 (Ranking Member), H.Res. 42 (D), H.Res. 68 (R)

Subcommittee Chair Ranking Member
Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Sanford Bishop (D-GA) Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE)
Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies José E. Serrano (D-NY) Robert Aderholt (R-AL)
Defense Pete Visclosky (D-IN) Ken Calvert (R-CA)
Energy and Water Development Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) Mike Simpson (R-ID)
Financial Services and General Government Mike Quigley (D-IL) Steve Womack (R-AR)
Homeland Security Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN)
Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Betty McCollum (D-MN) Dave Joyce (R-OH)
Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) Tom Cole (R-OK)
Legislative Branch Tim Ryan (D-OH) Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA)
Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) John Carter (R-TX)
State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Nita Lowey (D-NY) Hal Rogers (R-KY)
Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies David Price (D-NC) Mario Díaz-Balart (R-FL)

115th Congress

Membership, 115th Congress
Majority [9] Minority [10]

114th Congress

Members, 114th Congress
Majority Minority

113th Congress

Majority Minority

List of chairs

Chairman Party State Years
Thaddeus Stevens Republican Pennsylvania 1865–1868
Elihu B. Washburne Republican Illinois 1868–1869
Henry L. Dawes Republican Massachusetts 1869–1871
James A. Garfield Republican Ohio 1871–1875
Samuel J. Randall Democratic Pennsylvania 1875–1876
William S. Holman Democratic Indiana 1876–1877
Hiester Clymer Democratic Pennsylvania 1877
John D. C. Atkins Democratic Tennessee 1877–1881
Frank Hiscock Republican New York 1881–1883
Samuel J. Randall Democratic Pennsylvania 1883–1889
Joseph G. Cannon Republican Illinois 1889–1891
William S. Holman Democratic Indiana 1891–1893
Joseph D. Sayers Democratic Texas 1893–1895
Joseph G. Cannon Republican Illinois 1895–1903
James A. Hemenway Republican Indiana 1903–1905
James Albertus Tawney Republican Minnesota 1905–1911
John J. Fitzgerald Democratic New York 1911–1917
J. Swagar Sherley Democratic Kentucky 1917–1919
James W. Good Republican Iowa 1919–1921
Charles Russell Davis Republican Minnesota 1921–1923
Martin B. Madden Republican Illinois 1923–1928
Daniel R. Anthony, Jr. Republican Kansas 1928–1929
William R. Wood Republican Indiana 1929–1931
Joseph W. Byrns Democratic Tennessee 1931–1933
James P. Buchanan Democratic Texas 1933–1937
Edward T. Taylor Democratic Colorado 1937–1941
Clarence Cannon Democratic Missouri 1941–1947
John Taber Republican New York 1947–1949
Clarence Cannon Democratic Missouri 1949–1953
John Taber Republican New York 1953–1955
Clarence Cannon Democratic Missouri 1955–1964
George H. Mahon Democratic Texas 1964–1979
Jamie L. Whitten Democratic Mississippi 1979–1993
William H. Natcher Democratic Kentucky 1993–1994
Dave Obey Democratic Wisconsin 1994–1995
Bob Livingston Republican Louisiana 1995–1999
Bill Young Republican Florida 1999–2005
Jerry Lewis Republican California 2005–2007
Dave Obey Democratic Wisconsin 2007–2011
Hal Rogers Republican Kentucky 2011–2017
Rodney Frelinghuysen Republican New Jersey 2017–2019
Nita Lowey Democratic New York 2019–2021
Rosa DeLauro Democratic Connecticut 2021–2023
Kay Granger Republican Texas 2023–present

See also


  1. ^ Tollestrup, Jessica. "The Congressional Appropriations Process: An Introduction". Retrieved November 23, 2014.
  2. ^ a b "About the Committee". Retrieved February 25, 2012.
  3. ^ Nichols, Kenneth D. (1987). The Road to Trinity: A Personal Account of How America's Nuclear Policies Were Made. New York: William Morrow and Company. p. 174. ISBN 0-688-06910-X. OCLC 15223648.
  4. ^ "Senate, House Appropriations Set Subcommittee Plans for New Congress". Committee on Appropriations. January 4, 2007. Archived from the original on January 31, 2007. Retrieved January 4, 2013.
  5. ^ "Granger Announces Leaders of Appropriations Committee". House Committee on Appropriations - Republicans. January 16, 2023. Retrieved January 19, 2023.
  6. ^ "DeLauro Announces Appropriations Committee Roster for the 118th Congress". House Committee on Appropriations. January 31, 2023. Retrieved February 1, 2023.
  7. ^ "DeLauro Announces Appropriations Committee Roster". January 25, 2021.
  8. ^ "Granger Announces Republican Subcommittee Assignments for 117th Congress". January 28, 2021.
  9. ^ H.Res. 6 (Chair), H.Res. 29
  10. ^ H.Res. 7 (Ranking Member), H.Res. 45
  11. ^ H.Res. 6
  12. ^ "Matt Cartwright named to House spending panel=The Morning Call".
  13. ^ "House Report 113-724 - COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES A N N U A L". Retrieved March 2, 2021.

External links

This page was last edited on 15 February 2024, at 17:57
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