Warner Should Claim EPW Seniority
Senator John Warner (R-VA), whose term as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee ends after the lame-duck session, announced Friday that he would like to invoke his seniority on the Environment and Public Works Committee to claim its top GOP slot, currently held by Oklahoma's James Inhofe. Warner would then serve in the 110th Congress as the committee's ranking member (Barbara Boxer, D-CA, will be the chair).
"The senator said his plan was in keeping with past Republican practice." Inhofe, however, plans to fight for his spot: "I have long been a friend of John Warner, however, I think he has misunderstood the rules."
I don't think he has. Seniority matters, and with Warner stepping down as chair of Armed Services, he should be able to claim the ranking minority slot in EPW. I support his move wholeheartedly.
Warner responded late Friday to Inhofe's comment, saying "I carefully reviewed the rules in consultation with the Secretary of the Majority, who assures me that my seniority on the Committee forms a clear basis, under longstanding precedent."
The GOP caucus will vote on committee chairmanships on January 3.