For years, C.W. “Bill” Young controlled billions of dollars of spending as the chairman of the influential House Appropriations Committee Defense subcommittee.
Young’s death on Friday has left a “huge void” in the committee at a time of difficult choices, said Jennifer Hing, spokeswoman for the House Appropriations Committee. Sometime in the not too-distant future, a new chairman will be named, said Hing.
Between now and Jan. 15, Congress will have to pass a defense spending measure for the new fiscal year that began earlier this month, said Hing. The military is currently spending money authorized by what is called a continuing resolution.
The House already passed a $600 billion defense spending measure, but the Senate has not. The chairman of the appropriations subcommittee would be among those negotiating a final military budget.
“There is still a great deal of work to do, especially with upcoming sequestration cuts to defense,” said Hing.
Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, R-Kentucky, will name Young’s replacement, said Hing.
“It is normally based on seniority but it doesn’t always work that way,” said Hing. “There is no rule to that effect.”
Unlike every other committee chairman in Congress, the selected potential chairman has to go through a Republican steering committee, headed by the House Speaker and the Majority Leader and other members, said Hing.
Interest in the position will likely be high.
As chairman, Young was able to steer money to local defense contractors and tens of millions of dollars to MacDill Air Force Base.
But there is no time line yet for the replacement process to even begin, said Hing.
“Everyone is giving the proper time and respect to the situation,” she said. “I can’t give a date certain.”