Rep. Andy Harris, Maryland’s only Republican in Congress, will chair an appropriations subcommittee in the new, GOP-controlled House.
Harris, 65, a seventh-term representative in the 1st Congressional District of Harford County and the Eastern Shore, was named by House Republican leaders this week to head the House Appropriations panel overseeing funding for the Department of Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration, and other agencies.
He said in a news release that it was “an honor” to be named, calling agriculture “the economic backbone” of his district.
Harris did not return messages from The Baltimore Sun seeking comment on the appointment and various issues, including his legislative priorities, initial refusal to vote for California’s Kevin McCarthy as House speaker, and whether Rep. George Santos of New York should resign. Santos, elected in November, has admitted to lying or embellishing about his career and college education; a number of New York Republicans have called for his resignation.
Harris said Tuesday night on Newsmax, a right-wing broadcast outlet, that he is not urging Santos to step down.
“Look, that’s between him and his constituents,” Harris said. “If Mr. Santos wants to serve out his term, that’s his prerogative. He was duly elected.”
But Harris added: “I personally don’t think he should run for another term.”
Harris, a member of the Freedom Caucus — the House’s farthest-right voting bloc — and 20 other Republicans refused to give McCarthy their support during multiple votes for the speakership as the House convened in the new year. Harris flipped to McCarthy on the 13th vote, and the Californian secured enough support on the 15th roll call to win.
Harris’ staff did not respond to emailed questions from The Sun on whether his eventual support of McCarthy helped the Marylander land the subcommittee chairmanship.
The House doesn’t formally rank its members by seniority, but Harris was elected in 2010 and is a veteran member, at or near the top 100. Seniority often plays a role in the selection of committee and subcommittee chairs.
He has been on the House Appropriations Committee since 2013.