Sens. Steve Daines of Montana and James Lankford of Oklahoma will become the first senators since Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. in 1944 to serve simultaneously on the Appropriations and Finance committees, according to panel historical records reviewed by Roll Call.
The two Republicans received waivers from Senate GOP conference rules that limit senators to service on just one of the four so-called Super A committees — Appropriations, Finance, Armed Services and Foreign Relations.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released the list of Republican committee assignments Thursday, which still need to be ratified by the full GOP conference next week. McConnell’s office confirmed the waivers granted to Daines and Lankford to serve on both powerful panels, but the reasons weren’t immediately clear.
“It is an honor to be selected to serve on the esteemed Senate Finance Committee,” Lankford said in a statement. “This Committee is front and center on tax policy, healthcare, and trade, all of which are some of the top priorities for Oklahomans.”
Lankford and Daines in the previous Congress were subcommittee chairmen on Appropriations — Lankford on Financial Services and Daines at Legislative Branch. Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby hasn’t yet announced who will wield subcommittee gavels in this Congress.
The GOP membership overall on Appropriations won’t change in the 116th Congress. On Finance, in addition to Daines and Lankford, Indiana Sen. Todd Young will join the panel.
Lodge, a Republican from Massachusetts and the grandson of his more famous Senate namesake, served on both committees until resigning from the Senate on Feb. 3, 1944, to go on active duty in World War II.
According to his official biography, Lodge was the first senator to leave the Senate for this reason since the Civil War.
Another bit of Lodge Jr. trivia: In addition to being a descendant of the elder Sen. Lodge, he was also a descendant of New Jersey Sen. Theodore Frelinghuysen.
The Appropriations committees in both chambers used to be part of the tax-writing panels in both chambers, Finance in the Senate and Ways and Means in the House. The Senate Appropriations Committee was carved out of Finance in 1867, following similar action in the House two years earlier.
According to the Senate Appropriations Committee, the panel was created when Sen. Henry B. Anthony, a Republican from Rhode Island, offered a resolution to split up Finance that was adopted by unanimous consent by the Senate.
“His purpose was ‘to divide the onerous labors of the Finance Committee with another committee’ by separating the tax-writing and appropriating processes,” according to a panel history on the Appropriations website.
Kellie Mejdrich, Jennifer Shutt and Doug Sword contributed to this report.Also watch: In first mock swearing-in, Pence is no Biden