U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ranger, has been appointed to the powerful Appropriations Committee, the body that oversees federal spending.
"I'm a new breed of appropriator. I'm not a spender, instead you will see me as a saver, one who is looking for programs which need to be eliminated or that are duplicative or can be devolved back to the states to return our budget back to a 2008 level, which would include over $100 billion in cuts," Graves told The Times on Friday.
Graves was elected in a May special election to serve out Gov.-elect Nathan Deal's remaining term in the 9th District House seat. He was elected to the seat full time in November, and is preparing for his first full term in January.
His appointment to the Appropriations Committee is notable because membership on the committee is usually reserved for more senior members of Congress, Graves spokesman John Donnelly said.
"We had a lot of support from our Georgia delegation as members were seeking fiscal conservatives to go toward appropriations," Graves said. "It's a tremendous responsibility and one we're certainly honored to serve on. Many members have worked for years to be seated on that committee so we're very grateful for the opportunity in such a short amount of time to be able to serve there and begin looking for ways to reduce spending."
The Appropriations Committee is one of four committees that restrict members from serving on other committees because they are so powerful, Donnelly said.
"It will involve a lot of time going line by line through bills and asking questions. It's like taking a fine-toothed comb through the budget," Donnelly said. "The importance of the committee can not be underestimated. It funds the government."
Republicans are hoping to reform the appropriations process, which in the past has been known for members who make earmarks to bring money back to their districts.
Donnelly said Graves plans to use the committee to cut as much from the federal budget as possible.
"He's known as a next generation fiscal conservative," Donnelly said.