Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby has been named the top GOP member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, which will give him an opportunity to protect programs in his home state and also recommend cuts in areas he thinks are essential to the fiscal future of the country, he said.
Shelby was named to the seat by committee chairwoman Sen. Barbara Mikulsky, D-Md., with whom he has agreed to work bipartisanly to find the best ways to direct spending of federal dollars, reported USA Today.
In 30 years in the Senate, Shelby has managed to bring money back to his home state for research and space developments, but also has been instrumental in limiting the use of earmarks — though he thinks there is room for earmarks if the project is right.
"I think the term 'earmarks' is pejorative, but if anybody had something authorized and then appropriated, both, with balance, that might come back in some form," Shelby said. "If you're interested in appropriations just for earmarks, you would be going on there for the wrong reason, but if you're interested in how money is spent, if it is spent, where it's spent, how it's spent, that's what I'm interested in."
Shelby said the position will allow him to make sure money invested in Alabama continues to flow there, but that “there are a lot of things I want to cut, too. If we don't cut, we've had it as a country."
Mikulski said she called Shelby almost immediately after receiving the chairwomanship and, based on their long relationship working together in the Senate, believes that they will be able to work bipartisanly to get good work done.
"I reached out to him to say that when we look at how we are going to spend the money, we need to look not just at how we're going to meet our national security needs but also the compelling human needs in this country," Mikulski said. "We need to look at the public investments in our children, in our future and in how to promote our economy. And we need to do it on a bipartisan basis. I want to thank Sen. Shelby, because he assured me of his cooperation to do so."
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