Welcomed Rogers' leadership


It reveals how low expectations of Congress have fallen when moving a bill to fund the government seems like a major accomplishment.

But it's been almost three years since Congress has carried out this most basic duty.

So the House's overwhelming approval (359-67) of a bipartisan funding package is a big deal, and U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Somerset, was in the thick of getting it done.

As chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Rogers toiled with his Senate counterpart, Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., to put meat on the bones of the budget pact approved late last year.

Far-right groups such as the Club for Growth and Heritage Action opposed the $1.1 trillion omnibus plan.

But the 64 Republicans who voted against it included only one Kentuckian, freshman Thomas Massie, R-Vanceburg.

The bill falls short of making the investments needed to move the country toward full employment as spending levels remain lower than in 2007. But it does end the sequester cuts, increase funding for Head Start and avert a costly government shutdown in 2014.

Rogers described himself as "almost giddy" after the House vote, according to Roll Call, which quoted him as saying: "I think it portends well for the future. I think we'll have a restored attitude on the Appropriations Committee about working together, and the necessity of doing that. This gets the train back on track ... [and] gives us a chance during the coming year to do things."

Sounds like a man who understands the power of government to do good.