Durbin to Lead Defense Spending Panel in Senate
The question as to who would replace the late Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) as head of the powerful Defense Appropriations Subcommittee was answered Friday when Illinois Sen. Richard Durbin (D), one of the Senate’s more liberal members, said he would take over the post.
Durbin, who has spent much of his time in the Senate preserving social programs such as Social Security and Medicare, will turn his attention to an agency that accounts for roughly half of the government’s discretionary spending.
Now he will assume a critical role in leading a decline in defense spending as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan draw to a close and DOD faces the prospect of automatic spending cuts, reported the Hill.
“We will … work tirelessly to ensure we’re spending wisely, protecting taxpayers and planning well for the future needs,” Durbin said in a statement. “The needs of all our service members — active duty and reserve; in theater or here at home — will be our first concern.”
Over the past year, Durbin, who also serves as the chamber’s majority whip, has maintained the need for DOD to bear its share of the burden of deficit reduction.
Separately, Georgia Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R), a member of the Armed Services Committee, said Friday that he will not seek a third term in 2014. In the 112th Congress, he served on the committee’s Readiness and Management Support Subcommittee; lineups for the new Congress have not yet been determined.