WASHINGTON — Tom Graves on Tuesday got his belated Christmas gift: a high-powered position that will give him a major say in GOP efforts to roll back Barack Obama’s Wall Street overhaul and slim down the IRS.
The Ranger Republican’s peers on the House Appropriations Committee picked him to lead the Financial Services subcommittee. In that role he’ll get to author the roughly $23 billion annual spending bill that funds many of the divisive financial regulatory agencies created by Dodd-Frank law in the aftermath of the 2008 financial meltdown.
He’ll also have funding authority over the White House, the IRS, the District of Columbia and, by extension, the Treasury Department’s effort to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill.
Graves said he plans to use the perch to work with the incoming Trump administration “to mop up the mess the Obama administration made of our nation’s financial infrastructure.”
“This is a great opportunity to slash harmful regulations, streamline outdated agency processes and free families and businesses to achieve their dreams,” Graves said in a statement.
Graves, who will become Georgia’s most senior House Republican if Tom Price is confirmed as Donald Trump’s health chief, waged a behind-the-scenes campaign for the position in recent weeks.
The five-term lawmaker has had some fiscal problems of his own involving a bank.
A North Georgia bank accused Graves and former state Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers of defaulting on a $2.2 million loan to purchase and renovate a motel in Calhoun, while Graves and Rogers said the bank reneged on a promise to renegotiate the loan with more favorable terms. The parties reached an undisclosed settlement in 2011.
Other battles to watch for on Graves’ new turf include D.C.’s ongoing quest for statehood and needle exchange programs for addicts, funding for abortions and the Obama administration’s moves to thaw relations with Cuba. All have been the subject of partisan battles in recent years and aren’t likely to end anytime soon.