I am somewhat stunned that Sen. Patrick Leahy has turned down an opportunity to chair the Appropriations Committee. I was under the impression that he was highly covetous of the job. He will remain the chair of the Judiciary Committee, which means that there won’t be a major of reshuffling of committee chairs. It will be Sen. Barbara Mikulski who takes over Appropriations, instead. I remember reading somewhere a few years ago that Sen. Mikulski has served longer than any senator in history without having the honor of chairing a full committee. I don’t know if it’s true that she’s waited the longest ever, but it was probably worth the wait. She’s scrappy, so it should be interesting.
This means that Leahy will still be the one holding hearings on our gun laws. I thought it would be Sen. Diane Feinstein, which would have been very interesting because she sponsored the original Assault Weapons Ban in the mid-1990’s. But she will now keep her chair on Intelligence.