Sen, Pat Roberts, R-Kan., announced Thursday that he has lost his position as ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee for the next term of Congress.
"Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., is going to assert his seniority on the Ag Committee and will become the ranking member," Roberts said. "Seniority is a well-respected and historic privilege in the U.S. Senate. Sen. Cochran has my full support, and I will move his nomination when I bring the committee together for a vote later today. I expect it to be unanimous."
Roberts said he will remain a senior member of the Agriculture Committee and will continue to be a "strong ad vocal champion" for agriculture.
"Rest assured, I will remain a strong and vocal champion for agriculture as a senior member of the committee. I will retain my Finance Committee seat and as a senior member of this committee, I am able to affect trade policy, especially ag trade, tax reform, and rural health care."
The Senate Agriculture Committee will be once again pushing a new farm bill for the 2013 session. Cochran's decision to be ranking member provides more influence for Southern senators who were upset over farm-program changes pushed in last year's effort to get a farm bill passed.
Roberts added, "I wish Senator Cochran the best in his new position and will work with him and his staff to ensure a smooth transition on the committee. I look forward to working closely with Senator Cochran in this new congress to pass a five year farm bill that benefits producers, consumers and the taxpayer."
Roberts also noted he will remain on the Senate Finance Committee, which has a strong influence over agricultural issues, particularly involving trade and taxes. Roberts also serves on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, the Senate Finance Committee, the Senate Rules Committee and the Senate Select Committee on Ethics.
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