Six GOP freshmen to sit on Senate Appropriations; Dems also announce committee lineups
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced Thursday that six new Republican senators have won seats on the Senate Appropriations Committee, a sign that GOP leaders are seeking to bring fresh voices to the spending panel as part of their push for greater fiscal responsibility.
The half-dozen GOP freshmen tapped for the committee are Sens. Mark Kirk (Ill.), Dan Coats (Ind.), Roy Blunt (Mo.), Jerry Moran (Kansas), John Hoeven (N.D.) and Ron Johnson (Wis.). Several won election after running campaigns calling for deep spending cuts. Traditionally, lawmakers spend years working their way toward winning a plum spot on the panel, which oversees how federal dollars are doled out.
Senate Democrats also announced their committee lineups Thursday afternoon. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (Mich.), who is up for reelection in 2012, is the new chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, taking over from defeated Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.). Sen. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), who won election in November, will join fellow Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman (I) in serving on the Armed Services Committee.
Also worth noting is that freshman Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Chris Coons (Del.) will serve on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Manchin is a coal-state Democrat who famously shot a copy of cap-and-trade legislation in one of his campaign ads. He's likely to end up siding with Republicans on the committee, meaning that the current ratio of 12 Democrats to 10 Republicans will probably look more like an even split.
The announcement by Senate Republicans echoes a similar move made last month in the House, where GOP leaders tapped three freshmen to sit on the chamber's appropriations panel.
Among the other GOP changes to Senate committee rosters announced Thursday:
Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) will take over as the highest-ranking Republican on the Select Committee on Intelligence, succeeding former Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.), who retired this month.
An insiders expect that Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) will take over for Chambliss as ranking member on the Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, although a formal announcement has not been made.
Staff writer Paul Kane contributed to this report.
| January 27, 2011; 2:51 PM ET
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