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Coons Gets Lautenberg’s Appropriations Slot

Sen. Chris Coons has landed the seat on the Appropriations Committee that became vacant with the death of New Jersey Democrat Frank R. Lautenberg, just after the panel sent its first fiscal 2014 bills to the floor.

Coons will arrive in time for committee consideration of the Energy and Water Development and Transportation-HUD bills, which Chairwoman Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md., said Thursday morning will take place June 27.

Coons is moving to a powerful committee that has seen its clout diminished in recent years because of the inability of bills to get through the chamber under regular order and the current effective ban on Congressional earmarks. Still, it is certainly an “A-list” spot, and other senators had reportedly expressed interest in the position.

He will give up his seat on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, despite his interest in those issues. He will keep his other committee assignments on Budget, Foreign Relations and Judiciary.

Coons was elected to the Senate in 2010 after the departure of Joseph R. Biden Jr. to become vice president. He replaced interim Sen. Ted Kaufman, a former longtime Biden aide.

“I am pleased to welcome Senator Coons to the Appropriations Committee,” Mikulski said in a statement. “We have worked together on a number of issues in the past that are important to the adjoining states of Maryland and Delaware, and he has been an excellent partner. I know he will be an asset to the Committee.”

“My priorities on Appropriations will be consistent with my work in the Senate so far — helping businesses grow and create jobs; supporting innovative research; giving law enforcement the tools to keep our communities safe; and building a circle of protection around the most vulnerable in our society,” Coons said in a statement.

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