Texas Rep. Mac Thornberry (R), who has served as vice chairman of the House Armed Services Committee for the last four years, was selected by House Republican leaders on Tuesday to chair the committee when the 114th Congress opens in January.
Thornberry will replace Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), who is retiring at the end of the current session. His selection is expected to be approved by the entire Republican conference this week.
“I am grateful for the opportunity and also mindful of the responsibility it entails,” he said in a written statement. “The men and women who serve our nation in the military deserve the full support and backing of the Congress and of the country. Providing that support will be my top priority.”
Thornberry, whose district includes Sheppard Air Force Base, has served in Congress since 1995 and has been a member of the Armed Services Committee during his entire tenure.
He was challenged for the top spot on the powerful committee by Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), but Forbes insisted he wasn’t actively lobbying for the post, reported the Hill.
McKeon applauded the vote of the House Republican Steering Committee. “The Armed Services Committee will be in the most capable of hands with Chairman-select Thornberry, and so will our Armed Forces. My heartfelt congratulations to him as he moves into this rewarding — and challenging — job,” he said.