This is encouraging news; these committees will undoubtedly benefit from the substantial infusion of new blood. Especially invigorating is the news on the composition of the House Appropriations Committee -- and it's not limited to the welcome and overdue addition of Jeff Flake:
Most of the 22 House Republican freshmen-to-be selected to sit on much-coveted, A-list committees won their races with Tea Party backing.
The House Republican Steering Committee last week added the incoming members to the rosters of four powerful committees: Appropriations, Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce and Financial Services.
Speaker-to-be John Boehner (R-Ohio) and his fellow GOP leaders and representatives on the House Steering Committee ensured that members of the largest GOP freshmen class in 70 years were given spots on influential panels.
Nearly half of the new GOP spots on the House Appropriations Committee were given to incoming members. The Steering Committee tapped four Tea Party-backed representatives-elect to serve on the powerful spending panel.
GOP Rep.-elect Alan Nunnelee (Miss.) was one of nearly a dozen candidates officially endorsed by former GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. GOP Reps.-elect Steve Womack (Ark.) and Kevin Yoder (Kan.) were both endorsed by Freedom Works – the interest group closely tied to the Tea Party movement. Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ga.), elected in a special election in June 2010 and who won in the fall's regular election, will also serve on the spending panel and is an outspoken proponent for fiscal restraint.
Even Republicans' much-maligned incoming Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers -- who's earned a reputation as an inveterate earmarker -- is talking a good game, so far:
In a statement on Friday, Rogers wrote “cutting spending, bringing down record deficits, and reining in out-of-control agencies is going to be a difficult task, but I believe the addition of these fine, talented members is a step in the right direction. Our nation needs serious leadership and I enthusiastically welcome these Members to the Appropriations Committee.”
When Speaker Boehner gavels the 112th Congress into session, however, the proof will be in the committee pudding. Platitudes and promises will take a back seat to action. In other words (to quote our president), come January, the time for talk is over.