Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions is out as chair of the Senate Budget Committee.
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) is giving up his bid to become the next Budget Committee chairman — deferring to Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and eliminating the only competitive chairmanship battle in the incoming GOP Senate majority.
Sessions has been the panel’s top Republican for the past four years but Enzi technically retains seniority over the Alabaman on the committee and said several weeks ago that he would challenge Sessions for the chairmanship.
This is going to portrayed as a simple matter of seniority. It isn’t. That story has the same veracity and, indeed, the same source as the story that Senator Ted Cruz’s opposition to Obama’s immigration power grab led to the approval of stalled Obama nominees: Mitch McConnell.
Sessions has been serving as the top Republican on the committee for the past four years and was in line to take the chairmanship after the GOP won control of the Senate this month.
But since then, Sessions has undercut party leaders with his strident opposition to President Obama’s immigration action, even raising the specter of another fiscal showdown that resembles previous confrontations with the White House. Party leaders are eager to fight back against the president, but in a more measured way in line with their desire to show that they are up to the task of governing.
That has provided an opening for Enzi, whose name-out-of-a-hat seniority gives him the standing to challenge Sessions and who is pitching himself as a less-confrontational alternative.
Conservative activists say GOP leaders are backing Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) for the chairmanship because he would be a more reliable party man.
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and other members of his team have publicly stayed out of the contest, but conservative activists nevertheless say they are quietly backing Enzi because he would be a more reliable party man.
Gaston Mooney — who served as an aide to former senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), who often clashed with McConnell’s leadership team — wrote in an article last week in Conservative Review: “If Sessions loses the chair of the budget committee, it is only under the orders and direction of McConnell.”
While Mike Enzi has a solid voting record he is a reliable tool of the Senate leadership. The hard hitting analysis that Jeff Sessions brought to the Budget Committee will now become the watered-down pap Mitch McConnell wants.