Sessions concedes Budget gavel to Enzi

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) on Wednesday afternoon conceded to Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) after a race to become the next chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. 

Sessions, currently the panel’s ranking member, said he reached an agreement with his “good friend” Enzi. 

“We have talked and I am deferring to his seniority so that he can lead the Budget Committee as its Chairman beginning in 2015,” Sessions said in a statement. 

“Mike graciously deferred to me two years ago after he timed out on HELP as Ranking Member, and it has been my enormous privilege to serve as the panel’s Ranking Member these last four years, as well as to serve as the Judiciary Ranking Member for the two years before that,” Sessions added. 

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the self-proclaimed socialist, will be the new ranking member. He is a vocal advocate for increased spending on social programs and says the budget of the Pentagon should be dramatically slashed. 

{mosads}The Budget gavel was the last open seat remaining in the 114th Congress.

Sessions was slated to become chairman until Enzi decided to jump into the race. Enzi only has more seniority on the committee because of lots they both drew when they entered the Senate in 1997, giving him a technical advantage in the race. Both men joined the Budget Committee in 2003.

Many considered Enzi’s decision to pursue the gavel as a signal GOP leaders wanted to stray away from Sessions’s more conservative policies, but Enzi denied that leadership pushed him to go for it.

Enzi released a statement after Sessions announced his decision to back out and said Sessions will still have a “significant role” in reforming welfare spending and eliminating wasteful federal spending.

“I look forward to working with Jeff and the rest of the Budget Committee members on a budget that cuts spending, targets executive overreach, and reduces the size of government,” Enzi said. 

Just like all of the other panels, GOP members of the Senate Budget Committee will vote early next year to confirm Enzi as their chairman. The GOP conference will then have to ratify their decision.

The other GOP members on the Budget committee will be Sens. Chuck Grassley (Iowa), Mike Crapo (Idaho), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Rob Portman (Ohio), Pat Toomey (Pa.), Ron Johnson (Wis.), Roger Wicker (Miss.), Bob Corker (Tenn.) and Sen.-elect David Perdue (Ga.).

Tags Bernie Sanders Bob Corker Chuck Grassley Jeff Sessions Lindsey Graham Mike Crapo Mike Enzi Rob Portman Roger Wicker Ron Johnson

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