Cochran poised to take powerful Approps gavel

Sen. Thad CochranWilliam (Thad) Thad CochranChamber of Commerce makes play in Mississippi Senate race for Hyde-Smith Shelby approved as Appropriations panel chairman Cindy Hyde-Smith sworn in as Mississippi's latest senator MORE (R-Miss.) is expected to reclaim the gavel on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee next year now that the GOP has won control of the upper chamber.

Cochran has made it clear in recent days that he wants to become chairman of the committee, which is responsible for determining government spending.

Cochran cruised to victory on Tuesday to a seventh term, defeating his Democratic challenger 59 to 39 percent. 

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Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) currently serves as the panel’s ranking member, but he is expected to seek the chairmanship on the Senate Banking Committee. 

Cochran previously served as the Appropriations chairman from 2005 to 2007. He is now the ranking member on the Senate Agriculture Committee.

Sen. Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Defense: VA nominee on the ropes | White House signals it will fight for pick | Trump talks Syria with Macron | McConnell tees up Pompeo vote Schumer to oppose Pompeo as secretary of State Trump's nominee for the VA is on the ropes MORE (R-Ky.) would become second in line on the panel and is expected to become the new majority leader. 

Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) will remain as chairman of the Appropriations Committee in the House.

Holding the majority in both chambers could be an opportunity for Republicans to pass individual spending bills rather than short-term measures that last only a few months. 

That legislation, however, could invite President Obama’s veto pen and Republicans might not attract enough votes to override rejections from the White House.