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James Inhofe replaces John McCain as chair of Senate Armed Services Committee

September 5, 2018

In the wake of Sen. John McCain’s death late last month, chairmanship of the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee officially passed on Wednesday to the panel’s number two Republican, Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma.

“I am deeply honored that my colleagues have selected me to lead the Armed Services Committee,” Mr. Inhofe said in a statement after a vote by committee members.

During Mr. McCain’s prolonged absences due to failing health, Mr. Inhofe chaired meetings and hearings and was widely anticipated to be named to lead the committee which oversees more than $700 billion in annual Pentagon spending. The panel also reviews nominees for a range of military positions and acts in a watchdog role to curb wasteful Defense Department spending.

“America is facing new and unprecedented threats that are different from anything we’ve seen before,” Mr. Inhofe said in his statement.

“As chairman,” he added, “it will be my priority to address these threats while maintaining a staunch commitment to service members and their families, as well as continue the bipartisan tradition of rigorous accountability and oversight of the Defense Department.”

The full Senate is expected to formally affirm the selection before the end of this week.

Mr. Inhofe, 83, is seen as a more traditional conservative than Mr. McCain, who earned a reputation as a harsh critic of fellow Republicans, in addition to Democrats.

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