Washington – Sen. Chris Murphy, who is still in his freshman term in the Senate, has been given a seat on the Senate Appropriations Committee in the next Congress, a powerful panel that decides all spending issues and is responsible for the budget that funds all federal departments and programs.

“Joining the Appropriations Committee has been a priority for me since I joined the Senate, and I’m honored to have won a slot in just my third year here,” Murphy said. “The Appropriations Committee is so vital to Connecticut— it makes decisions on how much money is spent on submarines, helicopters and jet engines for our military, and it funds work on Connecticut’s interstates and rail lines.”

Murphy also tweeted he’s the first Connecticut senator to sit on an appropriations panel in nearly 30 years.

Fellow Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal, meanwhile, tweeted that he will be the top Democrat on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee next year.

Murphy and Blumenthal will be in the minority next year because the GOP seized control of that chamber in the last election. Still, membership on the Appropriations Committee affords Murphy a chance to influence spending on projects that may have an impact on Connecticut.

Murphy said he will retain his seats on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension (HELP) Committee, and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. But he will lose his seat on the Joint Economic Committee.

The Democrats’ loss of the Senate means the party will have fewer seats on each committee in the next Congress and the GOP will have more.

But a rash of Democratic retirements, and electoral losses has eliminated a number of members on the committee, including Sens. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Tom Harkin of Iowa, Mark Begich of Alaska and Tim Johnson allowed Democratic leaders to seat Murphy on the panel.

Murphy has also won a seat on the Democratic Steering Committee in the next Congress. The committee helps the party’s leadership forge the Senate Democrats’ agenda, message and strategy.

Murphy has distinguished himself in the Democratic Party by volunteering to serve as the Senate Democrats’ chief defender of the Affordable Care Act in the 113th Congress.

Ana has written about politics and policy in Washington, D.C.. for Gannett, Thompson Reuters and UPI. She was a special correspondent for the Miami Herald, and a regular contributor to The New York TImes, Advertising Age and several other publications. She has also worked in broadcast journalism, for CNN and several local NPR stations. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Journalism.

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