Reporting from Washington — Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Redlands), under fire from deficit hawks for steering tens of millions of dollars to projects in his district, faced a new challenge Friday in his bid for the chairmanship of the House Appropriations Committee.
Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) launched a campaign for the gavel, citing his efforts to rein in spending, including the practice of lawmakers earmarking funds for pet projects. Rep. Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) is also seeking the post.
Lewis chaired the panel before Democrats won control of the House in 2006 and is its top-ranking Republican. But his bid to become chairman again has drawn opposition from a number of conservative groups because of his years of earmark spending.
In a letter to soon-to-be House Speaker John A. Boehner (R- Ohio), the conservative leaders said that if Lewis became chairman, "It would be a signal to the millions of independents and members of the tea party movement who took a chance on Republicans in the election, that you have ignored their message of change, and that instead it will be business as usual in Washington."