Thursday, January 27, 2011

Prize Panel Seat Could Be Coburn's

By Alexander Bolton/The Hill ~ One of the Senate’s most outspoken advocates for cutting federal spending will nab a seat on the powerful Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over more than half the federal budget, according to Senate GOP sources.

Sen. Tom Coburn’s (R-Okla.) anticipated addition to the panel is another indicator that the GOP will look to make significant reforms to entitlement programs.

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Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid all fall within the jurisdiction of the Finance panel.

The expected appointment is also a major prize for Coburn, who has steadily raised his influence in the Senate Republican Conference over the past two years.

Senate Republicans will meet Thursday to formally consider Coburn’s appointment. He has slightly more seniority than Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), a possible 2012 presidential candidate who is also interested in sitting on the committee.

'Dr. No' eyed for powerful
Senate Finance Committee
A senior Republican member who sits on the powerful committee told The Hill Wednesday that Coburn would win one of the coveted Finance seats.

Another Senate GOP source said Coburn wants the post and will get it.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s (Ky.) office declined to comment on the issue.

Meanwhile, Coburn said “it’s all speculation” until committee assignments are announced officially.

A seat on the Finance Committee would give Coburn a powerful complement to his oversight position on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

Coburn, who was reelected in November, is serving his last term. He has vowed not to run for a third term.

With the winds at the GOP’s back after the election, conservatives on Capitol Hill believe they have a major opportunity to scale back government programs to help rein in the federal deficit.

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