Frelinghuysen appears in line to succeed Young as top defense appropriator

Rep. Rodney FrelinghuysenRodney FrelinghuysenObama’s immigration legacy still hurting America Overnight Regulation: GOP takes aim at Endangered Species Act | DOJ expands asset seizures | FCC chief denies Trump interfered on Time Warner merger | Panel votes to ease driverless car regs Overnight Finance: Pressure builds for GOP on taxes | NAFTA talks to begin in August | DOJ expands asset seizure program | Regulator defends charters for financial tech firms MORE (R-N.J.) has the inside track to become the House’s top defense appropriator after Rep. Bill Young (R-Fla.) retires at the end of 2014.

One senior defense lobbyist told The Hill that Frelinghuysen is the clear successor to Young as the next Defense Appropriations chairman — provided Republicans stay in the majority — because he was already picked for the role last year.

Young was term-limited as the subcommittee chairman at the end of 2012, the lobbyist said, and Frelinghuysen, the No. 2 Republican on the defense panel, was expected to succeed him.

Instead, Young requested and received a waiver to remain the chairman for one more term.

“Rodney is the heir apparent,” the lobbyist said.

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A House aide said the subcommittee posts are allocated by full committee seniority, and Rep. Frank WolfFrank WolfTrump, global religious freedom needs US ambassador to lead Bottom Line 10 most expensive House races MORE (R-Va.) is the most senior member of the Appropriations Committee after Young. Wolf has not served on the defense subcommittee, however.

Rep. Jack Kingston is also ahead of Frelinghuysen in full committee seniority, but the Georgia Republican is running for Senate.

A Frelinghuysen spokesman declined to comment.

Young, one of a dwindling number of longtime defense hawks still in Congress, announced on Wednesday he was retiring from the House at the end of 2014 after serving 22 terms.