Vermont U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy is giving up his seat as ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee to take the same post on the budget-writing Appropriations Committee.
Senator Leahy says the Appropriations post will enable him to help set the agenda on funding for rebuilding America's infrastructure, cleaning up Lake Champlain, protecting public lands and fighting climate change.
UVM Political Scientist Garrison Nelson says while Leahy enjoyed his role on judiciary, the leadership switch may be more beneficial for Vermont. “This might be a way that Senator Leahy sees as an opportunity to bring more money back to the state.”
Leahy, a Democrat, will maintain his membership on both committees. The ranking post means the senator leads the minority party's members on the committee.
The 76-year-old Leahy is the Senate's longest-serving member and just won a new six-year term in last week's election.
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