By Emelie Rutherford

Rep C.W. “Bill” Young (R-Fla.) is reassuming the chairmanship of the powerful House Appropriations Defense subcommittee (HAC-D), after House Republicans agreed to grant him a waiver of term-limit rules last Friday.

Young already had begun his preparations for retaking the HAC-D gavel before the House Republican Steering Committee formally approved him in the spot. He said last Thursday he had been working for weeks on a list of potential Pentagon budget cuts, because he had been assured by the new Republican House leadership the chairman’s seat would be his.

Young, who served as ranking Republican of the panel under Democratic control the past four years, told Defense Daily he was “busy catching up” on defense budgeting matters.

“Right now I’m developing thoughts, because I haven’t been the chairman for a while,” he said in an interview. “When you’re the ranking member you have an important role to play but you’re just not the chairman.”

Young said he was analyzing an array of fiscal year 2012 Pentagon budget cuts Defense Secretary Robert Gates proposed last Thursday. The congressman said he favored one of the most controversial, to end development of the Marine Corps’ Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV).

“I told Secretary Gates that he had given us an awful lot to think about and that we would analyze all of his recommendations as thoroughly as we can, but…one thing we would be very cautious of, that we are not going to do anything that would have an adverse affect on the warfighter,” he said. “We have made it very clear that we agree that there are areas in the defense budget where monies can be saved.”

Young, the longest-serving Republican in Congress, is said to have only run for reelection last year with the understanding he would received the powerful defense subcommittee chairmanship.

Young chaired the HAC-D from 1995 to 1998, then led the full House Appropriations Committee (HAC) before again serving as chairman of the defense subcommittee in 2005 and 2006. He served as the HAC-D’s ranking Republican when Democrats were in control of Congress from 2007 to 2010, and generally agreed with the two chairmen of the panel during that time: John Murtha, the now-deceased Pennsylvania Democrat, and Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), who took the gavel last year after Murtha’s death.

Defense electronics companies donated more to Young’s 2009-2010 reelection campaign than another other industry, giving him $68,000, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Defense firms donating to him included Finmeccanica SpA ($12,450), SAIC [SAI] ($11,500), Boeing [BA] ($11,000), Lockheed Martin [LMT] ($11,000), Textron [TXT] ($11,000), L-3 Communications [LLL] ($10,500), and Raytheon [RTN] ($10,500).

Young was luckier than his colleague Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.) in receiving a waiver of Republican term limit rules, which prohibit a member from serving as a panel’s chairman or ranking member for more than six years. The House Republican Steering Committee opted in December to deny Lewis, the HAC’s ranking member last congressional session, a waiver to serve as HAC chairman.

Now Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) is the HAC chairman. He said yesterday Lewis and Young each will be given the title “Chairman Emeritus” of the HAC.

Aside from Young, the other Republican HAC-D members this session are Lewis and Reps. Rodney Frelinghuysen (N.J.), Jack Kingston (Ga.), Kay Granger (Texas), Ander Crenshaw (Fla.), Ken Calvert (Calif.), Jo Bonner (Ala.), and Tom Cole (R-Okla.).

Other HAC subcommittee chairmanships announced last Friday include: Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), Homeland Security; Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas), Military Construction and Veterans Affairs; and Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas), State and Foreign Operations.