Zinke lands on Interior Appropriations Subcommittee

By Emma Dumain | 01/27/2023 04:14 PM EST

The Montana Republican will help decide funding for a department he once led.

Ryan Zinke walks from a closed-door meeting wearing a black cowboy hat.

Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.). Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo

Rep. Ryan Zinke may not be returning to the House Natural Resources Committee, but he’ll continue to have some direct oversight over the agency he used to helm.

The Montana Republican, former President Donald Trump’s first Interior secretary who previously served in the House from 2015 to 2017, has been appointed to the Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee.

The assignment, announced Friday, will give Zinke — who is technically back on Capitol Hill as a freshman while retaining some seniority from his previous stint — an opportunity to influence federal spending allocations for the programs and priorities inside his old agency.


He will also have a chance to, on occasion, grill current Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, with whom he served in the House when she was a Democratic congresswoman representing New Mexico.

Zinke’s top choice for committee assignments upon returning to Capitol Hill was Appropriations, saying he wasn’t interested in resuming his service on Natural Resources, of which he was a member the last time he was in the House.

On Natural Resources, Zinke would have had to work more closely with ranking member Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), with whom Zinke fought over oversight requests when he was at the Interior Department and Grijalva was the committee chair.

In one now-famous confrontation, Zinke called Grijalva a hostile drunk.

Another notable Republican to land at the Interior and Environment Subcommittee is Rep. Michael Cloud of Texas, who got on the full committee in exchange for his support for Kevin McCarthy during the California Republican’s messy fight to win the speakership.

New Republicans on the subcommittee will be Chief Deputy Majority Whip Guy Reschenthaler of Pennsylvania and Rep. Jake Ellzey of Texas.

Returning GOP members include subcommittee Chair Mike Simpson of Idaho, Chris Stewart of Utah and Mark Amodei of Nevada.

On the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee, Simpson, Reschenthaler, Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.) and subcommittee Chair Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.) will be joined by fellow Republican Reps. Ken Calvert of California, Julia Letlow of Louisiana, Michael Guest of Mississippi and Stephanie Bice of Oklahoma.