Rep. Dicks to seek Appropriations gavel

Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.) said he'll seek the chairmanship of the House Appropriations Committee when Rep. Dave Obey (D-Wis.) retires at the end of the year.

Dicks, the second-most senior Democratic appropriator after Obey, told reporters Wednesday he also expects to remain as chairman of the powerful Defense Appropriations subcommittee if he wins the full committee's chairmanship. Obey, who announced his retirement earlier Wednesday, is currently the chairman of both the full committee and the subcommittee for Labor, Education and Health and Human Services.

To win the Appropriations gavel, Dicks would have to win the support of the House Democratic Caucus, which votes on its committee chairmen, so he "will not take anything for granted," said Dicks spokesman George Behan.

After Dicks, the most senior Democratic appropriators are Reps. Alan Mollohan (W.Va.), Marcy Kaptur (Ohio) and Peter Visclosky (Ind.).