Confirmations, conservative agenda on tap for GOP panels

Confirming Donald Trump’s presidential Cabinet tops the immediate agenda for the Senate committees and their Republican chairmen, who then will focus on fulfilling long-sought goals by implementing a conservative agenda.

The Senate GOP hasn’t officially selected its committee leaders, but this is who is expected to hold the top spots:

APPROPRIATIONS: Longtime Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran chairs the panel, which tries to work on a bipartisan basis while drafting 12 annual agency budget bills. Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont is the new top Democrat.

FINANCE: Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch stays at the helm as the powerful panel tackles two major overhauls: taxes and the health care law. First up are confirmation hearings for Treasury pick Steve Mnuchin, the former Goldman Sachs executive cast by Democrats as the “foreclosure king.” Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon is the top Democrat.

ARMED SERVICES: Arizona Sen. John McCain leads the panel and the committee’s oversight of the military. The panel will probe Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and oversee the confirmation of Trump’s pick to lead the Defense Department, retired Gen. James Mattis. Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed will continue as the committee’s top Democrat.

INTELLIGENCE: North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr leads the committee, which oversees the CIA and the intelligence community and likely will take the lead in examining Russian interference in the election. Virginia Sen. Mark Warner is the new top Democrat on the panel.


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