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GOP May Prevent Sessions From Being Budget Chair

Brandon Moseley

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By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

BIRMINGHAM—There are media reports that U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R from Alabama), the Ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee will not become chairman of the Senate Budget Committee when Republicans assume control in January. Reports are that Senator Mike Enzi (R from Wyoming) is pushing to get the Chairmanship of the Budget Committee even though he is presently the Ranking member of the Senate Health Committee.

On Thursday, November 20, Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries John McMillan (R) said on Facebook, “Just read about an unfortunate turn of events that could prevent our own Senator Jeff Sessions from assuming chairmanship of the Senate Budget Committee. Senator Sessions is the advocate America needs to stand on the front line and fight for fiscal sanity in Washington DC. Let us pray that the Republican Senate Caucus comes to their senses.”

Alabama Constitutional Conservatives organizer Deanna Frankowski wrote on Facebook, “The Republican leadership in the Senate wants to kick Sessions off the budget committee and take the chairmanship away from him and give it to Mike Enzi of Wyoming. And if that happens, that pretty much tells us everything we need to know about what’s going to happen with the Republicans in the Senate.”

Conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh said on Wednesday, November 19, Jeff Sessions is, “The most eloquent, consistent, outspoken critic of illegal immigration, amnesty. He is writing op-eds. He is delivering effective speeches from the floor of the Senate. He’s just all over. He has been tireless in his characterization of the danger that this portends to the country, to the future. In a way, Jeff Sessions has actually been a lone voice in the Senate. There have been others, of course. Ted Cruz comes to mind, and Mike Lee.”

Sen. Mike Enzi reportedly told the ‘Washington Examiner’s David Drucker that he wants to be the next chairman of the Senate Budget Committee and is in negotiations to supplant the panel’s current ranking member, Sen. Jeff Sessions. “We’re talking. I’d like to be the chair,” Enzi said.

Sessions confirmed to the Examiner that Enzi wanted to be Budget Chairman. The ever gracious Sen. Sessions said, “We’re good friends.”

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Rush Limbaugh said, “The budget process will be the last recourse against Obama’s lawlessness, there’s nobody more qualified to serve as budget chair than Jeff Sessions. But this thought process all assumes that other Republicans value the leadership qualities that Sessions has exhibited. According to Congressional Quarterly, Mike Enzi is planning to challenge Sessions for the chairmanship. Even though Enzi has not served as ranking minority member on the budget committee or led publicly on any budgetary issue, his seniority would bump Sessions from the position if he seeks it. And it’s yet another example of why the seniority system is a poor method for determining leaders.” So Enzi wants it. It looks like it’s his if he wants it because of seniority. But my point here is: Why does Enzi want it?”

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Senators Enzi and Sessions actually entered the Senate in the same year; but under Senate rules, when there is a tie the tie is broken by chance. Enzi apparently ‘drew the longer straw.’ Senator Enzi is the Ranking member of the Senate Health Committee and it was assumed that he would step up to chair that Committee in the new Congress.

Where Senator Sessions regularly appears on television, on the radio, in newspapers, giving interviews to websites, including the Alabama Political Reporter, Sen. Enzi is much less outspoken. The crisis at the border and immigration reform have been the biggest issues in Washington in recent months. While Sessions is extremely outspoken and available to the press and the public, Senator Enzi hasn’t mentioned the issue once in the last six months of press releases on his website. Sen. Sessions has done far more work to motivate and energize the Republican base to come out and vote in November, which gave the Republicans control of the Senate.

Sen. Enzi recently fought off a primary challenge from Liz Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney (D). Former VP Dick Cheney told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that Enzi raised 84 percent of his campaign dollars from DC PACs which is more than any Senator from either party. Very few of Enzi’s dollars come from Wyoming.

Perhaps those powerful DC PACs want their guy controlling the budget?

Senator Sessions is also a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Brandon Moseley is a senior reporter with six and a half years at Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Facebook.

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