By Agri-Pulse Staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

WASHINGTON, Jan. 27 – Senate GOP leaders have named six freshmen Republicans to the Appropriations Committee, a step away from tradition under which seats to the powerful panel are awarded by seniority or otherwise lengthy service. Observers say the announcement from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) naming the new members sends a message that the GOP is serious about making significant budget cuts and reducing the deficit.

The six Republican freshmen are Sens. Mark Kirk (Ill.), Dan Coats (Ind.), Roy Blunt (Mo.), Jerry Moran (Kansas), John Hoeven (N.D.) and Ron Johnson (Wis.). Most won election in November on campaign promises of fiscal responsibility.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) also announced the Democratic committee assignments Thursday, and, as expected, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (Mich.) was set as the new chair of the Agriculture Committee. Stabenow, who succeeds defeated Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), is up for reelection next year.

Freshmen Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Chris Coons (Del.) have been named to the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Manchin ran with strong support from his state's coal industry and shot a copy of last year's cap-and-trade legislation in a campaign ad. He is expected to vote with Republicans on a number of issues, turning the current ratio of 12 Democrats to 10 Republicans into what could be an even split on several votes.

Other Republican changes announced Thursday include former Agriculture Committee ranking member Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) moving over to become the top Republican on the Select Committee on Intelligence. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) is expected to take over for Chambliss at the top GOP spot on Agriculture Committee. Roberts is a former chairman of the House Agriculture Committee.

For a pdf file with all the committee assignments, click HERE.

To return to the News Index page, click: