Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) has become a cardinal on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee and will be in charge of funding for the embattled Internal Revenue Service.
Udall will take over as the chairman of Financial Services and General Government subcommittee, the panel announced Thursday. Udall takes over after Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) died earlier this month.
Lautenberg had taken over the subcommittee this year from Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) who moved to head the defense subcommittee. That group had been headed by Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) before his death December.
Udall was first elected in 2008, and his rise to an Appropriations cardinal position is unusually fast.
The Financial Services subcommittee has jurisdiction over the Treasury department, IRS, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
The IRS has come under fire for targeting conservatives applying for tax exempt social welfare organization status. The House Appropriations Committee has called IRS leaders to task over the scandal but the Senate Appropriations subcommittee has yet hold a hearing on it.
Other battles in the subcommittee include implementation of the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul and the tax-related provisions of ObamaCare, which taxes those who refuse to purchase health insurance. The subcommittee also has a key role in overseeing the District of Columbia's budget, in guiding the operations of the troubled U.S. Postal Service and in overseeing the Federal Election Commission.
In a statement, Udall emphasized that he will use his new powers to "work hard to support small businesses, expand rural broadband, protect consumers and ensure the safety of our financial markets."