Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) has been selected to serve as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, succeeding former Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS), who retired earlier this month.
Shelby, who was approved by the Senate Republican Conference, will also chair the defense subcommittee.
Shelby takes the helm following last month's passage of a $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill, of which $700 billion went toward defense. Congress has agreed to fund defense at $716 billion in fiscal year 2019, but the deal could collapse if lawmakers seek to make additional cuts to non-defense spending.
Meanwhile, new concerns have been raised about the skyrocketing federal deficit, which, according to the Congressional Budget Office, will exceed $1 trillion in the coming year.
“My colleagues have placed their trust in me to lead the Senate Appropriations Committee, and I am honored to serve our nation in this new capacity,” Shelby said in a statement.