Republican Sens. Ben Sasse (Neb.) and David Perdue (Ga.) are joining the Senate Armed Services Committee, they and Republican leadership announced Tuesday.
The two are replacing former Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyottePoll: Potential Sununu-Hassan matchup in N.H. a dead heat Democrats facing tough reelections back bipartisan infrastructure deal Sununu seen as top recruit in GOP bid to reclaim Senate MORE (R-N.H.), who lost her reelection bid, and Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Dems attempt to tie government funding, Ida relief to debt limit Trump lawyer offered six-point plan for Pence to overturn election: book Graham found Trump election fraud arguments suitable for 'third grade': Woodward book MORE (R-Utah), who is joining the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.
Sasse has been a vocal critic of President-elect Donald TrumpDonald TrumpUN meeting with US, France canceled over scheduling issue Trump sues NYT, Mary Trump over story on tax history McConnell, Shelby offer government funding bill without debt ceiling MORE, and joining the Armed Services Committee could put him in a position to be a foil to Trump’s national security plans alongside committee Chairman John McCainJohn Sidney McCainBiden steps onto global stage with high-stakes UN speech Biden falters in pledge to strengthen US alliances 20 years after 9/11, US foreign policy still struggles for balance MORE (R-Ariz.).
McCain is already on track to be a thorn in Trump’s side, swiftly scheduling a hearing on Russian and other foreign cyber threats in the face of Trump’s dismissal of intelligence assessments that Russia hacked Democratic Party systems during the election.
The committee will also be responsible for the confirmation hearing for retired Gen. James Mattis as Defense secretary. Mattis, who retired in 2013, is expected to be confirmed, but faces the hurdle of needing a waiver to bypass a law that says Defense secretaries must be out of uniform for seven years.
In a statement, Sasse said he will focus on cyber warfare and the fight against terrorism.
“I’ve been asked to serve on these important committees and I’m honored to do everything in my power to make sure Nebraskans help set the federal government’s course with common sense and integrity,” Sasse said. “We also know that Washington isn’t prepared for the national security challenges of the age of cyberwarfare and global jihad that will be my constant focus on the Armed Services Committee.”
In a separate statement, Perdue talked about the need to streamline Pentagon operations.
“It is our responsibility to support our military and ensure our troops have the tools they need to protect our homeland and support our allies around the world,” he said. “We must also look for ways to streamline operations at the Department of Defense so we can dedicate more of our resources to completing our military’s missions and preparing for future challenges.”
The new Republican committee members join the previously announced new Democratic committee members, Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenBipartisan senators to hold hearing on 'toxic conservatorships' amid Britney Spears controversy Senate advances Biden consumer bureau pick after panel logjam White House faces increased cries from allies on Haitian migrants MORE (Mass.) and Gary Peters (Mich.).