Chairman Rogers Responds to White House Veto Threat, Expresses Optimism that House and Senate can Return to Regular Order

WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (KY-5) appeared before a breakfast meeting of The Ripon Society yesterday morning, delivering a speech in which he not only responded to the recent threat by the White House to veto the MilCon/VA spending bill, but expressed his optimism that House and Senate appropriators would be able to return to regular order and chart a clear fiscal path down the road.

“They’re threatening to veto all of these bills because we’re not marking up to the Senate number of $1.058 trillion,” Rogers stated, referring to the Obama Administration. “We’re marking up to $967 billion, the top line under current law. And they said to us, ‘We’re not going to abide by sequestration — we’ll just mark it up to $1.058 trillion.’ We said in return, ‘It’s the law — you signed it!’ After we passed the MilCon/VA bill, a bill that received 421 bipartisan votes, they threatened to veto it. You know what I said? ‘Make my day.’ The President’s going to threaten all the bills. That’s fine with me, but we’ll see how it works out. Just don’t ask me to make sense of the White House on this or anything else.”

Rogers, who is serving his 17th term in office and second as Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, sounded a more positive note when discussing his work with his Democratic counterpart on the Senate side and the possibility that the House and Senate spending panels could reach agreement this year.

“We’re going to try to pass all 12 bills,” the Kentucky Republican declared. “Senator Mikulski is a breath of fresh air on the Senate side. We are getting along beautifully. She is a woman of her word. She is tough. Nobody jerks her chain — she is the chain-jerker. We’re going to differ a lot on the issues, and we are clearly going to differ a lot on philosophy. But procedurally, we are in tandem. She has the same goal that I have, and that is to restore regular order to the appropriations process.”

“Almost half of the House have been here less than three years – they don’t know what regular order is. They’ve never seen a thing like that. So part of this process is education — getting back in the groove of doing things the way we’re supposed to. I think that’s coming along.”

Rogers concluded his remarks on a lighter note when, in response to a question following his speech, he recounted his experience performing on a world-renowned stage in Nashville.

“Collin Peterson is really a great musician,” Rogers began, making reference to his congressional colleague and friend from the 7th District of Minnesota. “He plays guitar for Willie Nelson and has a band he’s put together. A few years ago, he asked me and two or three other Members if we’d like to go down to Nashville sometime with him and sing. I said, ‘Yeah, sure.’

“We went to Ryman Auditorium. They take us up to the third floor to this tiny little dressing room where Porter Wagoner and Little Jimmy Dickens stood. It wasn’t until then that I realized we were going to sing in the Grand Ole Opry. We practiced this song I’d never heard of called ‘Silver Wings.’ Peterson introduces us. We each had our own microphone — I think they were all turned off except for Collin. Anyway, the band strikes up – a terrific band – full house in the grand auditorium, and we’re on the air singing ‘Silver Wings.’ The crowd interrupted us three times, but we went ahead anyway. What an experience that was!”

The Ripon Society is a public policy organization that was founded in 1962 and takes its name from the town where the Republican Party was born in 1854 – Ripon, Wisconsin. One of the main goals of The Ripon Society is to promote the ideas and principles that have made America great and contributed to the GOP’s success. These ideas include keeping our nation secure, keeping taxes low and having a federal government that is smaller, smarter and more accountable to the people.