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DSCC Chair Peters tapped for plum Senate Appropriations seat

Michigan Democrat has tough task in 2024 election cycle; state faces lost clout with Stabenow's pending exit

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., left, and DSCC Chair Gary Peters, D-Mich., hold a news conference in the Capitol on Dec. 7, 2022, to discuss Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock’s Georgia runoff win.
Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., left, and DSCC Chair Gary Peters, D-Mich., hold a news conference in the Capitol on Dec. 7, 2022, to discuss Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock’s Georgia runoff win. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Michigan Sen. Gary Peters will serve on the Senate Appropriations Committee this Congress, the only new senator to join the panel on the Democratic side. 

His assignment — which Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., announced Thursday along with other Democratic committee rosters — is likely a reward for Peters agreeing to serve as Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee chair for another election cycle. 

Peters had said publicly he didn’t want to chair Senate Democrats’ political arm again in 2024, which is expected to be a tough cycle for the party. His appointment to Appropriations increases his clout in the Senate as Michigan’s senior senator, Debbie Stabenow, is preparing to retire after 2024. 

“I look forward to focusing on efforts important to Michigan, including those that bolster our economic competitiveness, expand skills training programs and encourage job growth, protect the Great Lakes, support Michigan’s defense footprint [and] save taxpayers money,” Peters said in a statement on Facebook. 

Democrats will still have 15 spots on the Appropriations Committee this Congress, but Republicans are expected to lose a seat and end up with 14. Committee ratios have not been formally announced, but Republicans lost a Senate seat in the November elections, and the committee ratios are going to be adjusted to reflect Democrats’ new 51-49 majority. 

The only Democratic appropriator from last Congress who is not returning to the panel this year is retired Chairman Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., is the new incoming committee chair and Peters is filling the open seat Leahy’s vacancy created. 

All other Appropriations Democrats are returning, but subcommittee chairmanships may shift somewhat. Those have yet to be announced, but under Democratic caucus rules Murray may have to give up her spot as chair of the Labor-HHS-Education subcommittee for a more junior panel member now that she’s also chairing the full committee. 

Republicans will have some changes in their roster and ranking members slots as well. Sens. Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., who served as top Republican of the full committee and Defense subcommittee last Congress, and Roy Blunt, R-Mo., who was ranking member of the Labor-HHS-Education subcommittee, retired. 

Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., who served as the Legislative Branch subcommittee ranking member, said earlier this week, he is not returning to the Appropriations Committee. 

If Republicans end up with 14 seats this Congress, they will have two open seats to fill. The GOP has had some intraparty issues that have delayed their organization of committees, so decisions on who will fill those seats are not expected to be announced until next week. 

Incoming Senate Appropriations ranking member Susan Collins, R-Maine, is moving from the Transportation-HUD panel to the Defense subcommittee slot. That means the three open subcommittee slots for Republicans are Labor-HHS-Education, Transportation-HUD and Legislative Branch. 

Aidan Quigley contributed to this report.

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