Seeking to soften the blow from his ouster as the next Majority Leader, Republicans are likely to offer Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) the chairmanship of the Rules and Administration Committee.
Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), who was in line to head the Rules panel in the 108th Congress, has agreed to step aside to allow Lott to retain some institutional power, several GOP sources said. Senate GOP leaders are scheduled to meet Monday to discuss the situation, which will be part of a broader conversation about choosing committee chairmen.
It is unclear whether Lott has agreed to accept the position. His office could not be reached for comment. Lott resigned as Republican leader in December under a barrage of criticism for a perceived insensitive racial remark he delivered at Sen. Strom Thurmond’s (R-S.C.) 100th birthday party.
The Rules panel has jurisdiction over the internal workings of the Senate, ranging from doling out office space to handling contested elections. While Rules is powerful within the institution, it does not have the stature of influential committees such as Finance and Appropriations.
For more on Lott and incoming Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), pick up a copy of Monday’s print edition of Roll Call or log onto rollcall.com.
Beginning next week, Roll Call will expand its coverage by moving to a three-day-a-week publishing schedule when Congress is in session. Issues will appear on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.