Senate GOP appropriators announce subcommittee leaders

Thad Cochran, R-Miss., reclaims the top Republican slot on the Homeland Security Subcommittee he gave up two years ago.

Senate Appropriations Committee Republicans on Wednesday set their lineup for the 110th Congress, with a few notable personnel shifts.

Senate Appropriations ranking member Thad Cochran, R-Miss., picking first, chose to reclaim the top GOP slot on the Homeland Security Subcommittee that he relinquished upon becoming full committee chairman two years ago. He became chairman of the panel when it was created in 2003.

Cochran's move paved the way for Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., to become ranking member of the State-Foreign Operations panel, which was open because Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., stepped aside so he could focus on his leadership duties. Gregg formerly served as chairman of the Commerce-Justice-State panel.

Cochran grouped the State budget with the foreign aid budget when he became full committee chairman in 2005 -- so Gregg is familiar with the subject. He moved over to Homeland Security two years ago when Cochran reorganized the subcommittees.

Sen. Robert Bennett, R-Utah, had considered moving to Interior but opted instead to stay at Agriculture, allowing Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, picking next, to assume the ranking member slot on Interior. The position was vacated by Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., who was defeated for re-election, and it was expected to go to one of the two other Westerners.

Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., will be ranking member on the new Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee, which absorbed the District of Columbia budget; he was chairman of the panel when it was a separate subcommittee previous to this year's reshuffling. Remaining subcommittee ranking members were the chairman of their respective subcommittees in previous years.

Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, stays at Defense; Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa.; at Labor-HHS; Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., at Energy and Water; Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., at Commerce-Justice-Science; Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, at Military Construction-Veterans Affairs; and Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo., at Legislative Branch.