For the first time in forty years, northern Wisconsin won’t have representation on the House Appropriations Committee. Sean Duffy, the Republican taking over the Seventh District seat long held by Wausau Democrat David Obey, has announced he has no interesting in serving on the committee. “It is a bit of a puzzling decision, because there’s not many freshmen that get invited to serve on that committee,” noted David Cannon, a political scientist at the University of Wisconsin. Cannon noted that Duffy, who ran on a platform of fiscal conservatism, may want to distance himself from the perception that the appropriations committee is a source of wasteful pork barrel spending. “He doesn’t want to be part of that sort of stigma that’s attached to bringing home the bacon to your district,” Cannon suggested.
But, Cannon also said that the appropriations panel can serve as a vehicle for cutting spending. “Let’s say your biggest mission is to cut the budget and eliminate wasteful spending. Probably the best platform from which you could do that is the appropriations committee,” he said. “The real place where the rubber hits the road with spending is in the appropriations committee.” Duffy reportedly has not yet indicated what committees he would like to serve on.