Politico.com is reporting that Patrick Leahy has declined the chairmanship of the Senate Appropriations Committee. In a statement issued by email, Leahy said:
“Chairing the Judiciary Committee and maintaining my seniority on the Appropriations Committee will allow me to protect both the Constitution and Vermont.”
The Politico story:
Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy is turning down the powerful chairmanship of the Senate Appropriations Committee, a surprise move in a chamber where senior senators are quick to snag the most influential positions on Capitol Hill, aides said Wednesday.
Leahy began telling colleagues Wednesday he would remain chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee — the panel that oversees the Justice Department, federal courts and hot-button constitutional issues — rather than take over the Appropriations Committee, which holds the purse strings of federal discretionary spending. The Appropriations Committee spot opened up following the death of long-time Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), who had served in the body since 1963.