Washington Democrat likely to take over defense spending panel

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said Tuesday he expects Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Wash., to ascend to the chairmanship of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, succeeding the late Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., who died Monday.

Hoyer noted that Dicks was second to Murtha in seniority on that committee, calling him "an extraordinarily able member of the Congress of the United States, very well grounded in defense policy, who has served on that committee for well over two decades."

"I believe he will lead that committee very ably and effectively, and will be a very strong voice on behalf of national security and our men and women in uniform," said Hoyer.

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