Frelinghuysen appears in line to succeed Young as top defense appropriator

Rep. Rodney FrelinghuysenRodney FrelinghuysenGOP struggles to find women to lead House committees Overnight Defense: NY/NJ bombings renew terror debate | US probes Syrian air strike | Senators push measure on Saudi arms sale Ex-Pentagon comptroller says Pentagon 'hardball' memo is no surprise 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.

A House aide said the subcommittee posts are allocated by full committee seniority, and Rep. Frank WolfFrank Wolf10 most expensive House races Benghazi Report and Hillary: What it means for Philadelphia Lobbying World 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.