Kaine gets seats on Armed Services, Foreign Relations panels


U.S. Sen.-elect Tim Kaine (D-VA) pumps his fists as he celebrates his senate race victory on stage with supporters in Richmond, Va., Nov. 6, 2012. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Sen.-elect Timothy M. Kaine will take the seat on the Armed Services Committee being vacated by retiring Sen. James Webb, ensuring that Virginia and its huge military presence will continue to have a voice on the key panel.

Senate Democratic leaders announced their full slate of committee assignments for the 113th Congress Wednesday, though the rosters still must be approved by the Democratic Caucus and then the full Senate when the chamber organizes in January. Barring any changes, Kaine will get slots on Armed Services as well as the Foreign Relations and Budget committees.

Kaine made clear during his campaign against fellow former governor George Allen (R) that he wanted to serve on Armed Services, as Virginia is home to the Pentagon and several other key military installations. Webb, a decorated Marine veteran and former Navy Secretary, is an active member of the Armed Services panel. And Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) was a longtime member of the committee, ultimately becoming chairman, before he retired.

Kaine will also replace Webb on Foreign Relations, and Budget is a logical fit given that Kaine has boasted of his ability to produce balanced budgets as governor. But Kaine did not get the seat he wanted on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. He had also expressed interest in a seat on the Small Business Committee.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), meanwhile, will keep the same assignments he has in the current Congress, with seats on the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; Budget; Commerce, Science and Transportation; Rules and Administration; and Select Intelligence committees.

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