Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., second from left, speaks to the media after a meeting regarding the Hurricane Sandy aid bill. Frelinghuysen is one candidate to succeed the late C.W. 'Bill' Young on the House Appropriations defense subcommittee. (Getty Images)
WASHINGTON — House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers has yet to decide when he will name a new Defense subcommittee leader to replace the late Rep. C.W. “Bill” Young.
The Kentucky Republican will pick a new chairman for the panel, which allocates funds for the Defense Department, then a group of House leaders must approve the pick.
“The chairman makes a selection ... and then the steering committee has to approve,” a House aide said. “Right now there is no timeline for this.”
Young, who passed away Friday, will be buried Thursday.
Subcommittee chairmanships often are doled out based on members’ seniority on the full Appropriations Committee.
Being handed the big chair on an Appropriations subcommittee dais is “often based on seniority,” the aide said. “But it is not a rule.”
The path to the chairmanship appears to be breaking for Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen of New Jersey.
Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., another Defense subcommittee member, has served on the full panel longer. But Kingston is running for the Senate seat being vacated by the retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga.
Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., also has logged more time on the full committee, but is not a Defense subcommittee member.
In the months leading up to his death, Young broke with the most conservative members of the House Republican conference by saying he would vote for a continuing resolution that did not target President Barack Obama’s signature health care reform law.
In his final media interview with a Florida newspaper, Young acknowledged the tea party wing of the caucus is “pretty much in charge right now.”
Republicans and Democrats took to the House floor on Tuesday evening to speak fondly about Young and voice support for legislation that would rename a Florida veterans hospital in Young’s honor.
House Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., highlighted how Young was a throwback to a time when Washington was less partisan.
“In a time when political culture too often devolves into hostility, and compromise is a dirty word,” Lowey said, “Bill Young was always a gentleman who consistently reached across the aisle.”
Rep. Ted Yoho of Florida, one of the tea party House Republicans from whom Young attempted to distance himself, recently called the government shutdown that old-school lawmakers opposed “the tremor before the tsunami here.”
On Tuesday evening, Yoho made no mention of Young’s criticism of the tactics employed by House leaders under pressure from their tea party wing. Instead, Yoho praised the man whom he and other “young guns” so disagreed with on fiscal matters.
“Bill saw the nation through some of her most tumultuous times, and throughout all of it he worked tirelessly to make sure our nation’s veterans were taken care of,” Yoho said. “He was a constant fixture at VA medical centers in Florida and in the Washington, D.C., area, always making sure the veterans were receiving the best possible care.”