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But he, too, would relish an appointment to the panel, as would former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, the Republican frontrunner in todays California Senate Republican primary.
Pat Toomey would be happy to serve on the Appropriations Committee so he could most effectively fight against the wasteful pork spending that comes out of that committee, campaign spokeswoman Nachama Soloveichik said.
Fiorina campaign spokeswoman Julie Soderlund said her boss believes that part of the problem in Washington is that the right questions are not asked in Appropriations hearings. Instead of asking why a particular agency, department or program needs more money, Carly believes instead we should be asking what they are doing with the money they already have.
The Democratic Conference determines panel assignments for its Members according to the seniority of incumbent Senators and evaluations made by the Steering Committee and Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.). The Republicans operate similarly, with seniority playing a large role, but McConnell, as the leader, having the power beyond that.
According to the rules governing committee assignments for the GOP Conference, when there are multiple openings on a panel, half of those are filled through seniority and half are filled at the discretion of the leader. Because there will be at least five GOP openings on Appropriations, it is within McConnells power to promise a slot to Hoeven.
The departing Republican appropriators are Bennett and retiring Sens. Kit Bond (Mo.), Sam Brownback (Kan.), Judd Gregg (N.H.) and George Voinovich (Ohio). However, only one Republican on Energy and Natural Resources, Sen. Jim Bunning (Ky.), is calling it quits, and should a Republican with seniority lay claim to this lone slot, McConnells plans to assign it to Hoeven could be blocked.