Inhofe says he expects to succeed McCain on Armed Services

“Because of the term limits for Senate Republican Ranking Memberships, I am looking forward to stepping in as Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee,” said Inhofe.

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“Of course this is subject to the vote of the Republican members on the committee,” he said. “I appreciate the leadership that Senator McCain has provided on the committee over the past six years. The committee has a long history of bi-partisanship in providing the resources our nation’s military needs, and I will work with Chairman Levin to continue working for the betterment of our national defense.”

McCain has not indicated what he will do one way or the other, and his office did not respond to requests for comment.

McCain has been the top GOP lawmaker on the Defense Department Oversight panel since 2006, taking over as Democrats took back the majority in the Senate.

From his perch as ranking member, McCain has been among the most vocal critics of President Obama’s military policies, and he has gone after waste in projects like the F-35 fighter.

If Inhofe is chosen as ranking member, he would be heading up the committee alongside the current Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.), who has been top Democrat on the panel since the late 1990s. Democrats do not have the same term-limit rules as Republicans for committee chairmanships.

Inhofe said he’s concerned about the planned $487 billion budget cuts the Pentagon has planned for the next decade, and he would focus on “preventing the potential hollowing out of our forces.”