Lautenberg Takes Appropriations Subcommittee Gavel Held by Byrd

Sen. Frank Lautenberg will take over as chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, his office announced Tuesday.

The New Jersey Democrat will serve in an interim capacity in the post previously held by the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), who died Monday morning. Lautenberg, 86, became the Senate's oldest member following the death of the 92-year-old Byrd.

Lautenberg recently completed treatment for lymphoma of the stomach, and he announced at a dinner in New Jersey on Saturday that he was cancer-free.

According to an Associated Press report of the Garden State Equality Legends event, Lautenberg said his doctor told him, "It's gone, Frank."

While Lautenberg will serve as interim subcommittee chairman, the plum assignment could be up for grabs next year. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), who also serves on the subcommittee, is said to have expressed interest in the job.

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