A big announcement from Sen. Patrick Leahy's office-- Leahy will not chair the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee as expected.
Leahy became the most senior member of the Senate with the passing of Hawaii Senator Daniel Inouye earlier this week. Inouye had been Senate president pro tem and chair of the Appropriations Committee. Leahy was sworn in as the new Senate president pro tem Tuesday, and many in Washington expected he would also take the lead role on Appropriations. But Wednesday, Leahy announced he will not chair Appropriations, instead choosing to still sit on the committee and continue as chair of the Judiciary Committee.
The senator released a statement saying, "Chairing the Judiciary Committee and maintaining my seniority on the Appropriations Committee will allow me to protect both the Constitution and Vermont."