Washington Prowler

Earmaking Kansas

One state the GOP doesn't intend to lose in 2008. Also: Bye Bayh.

By 12.3.06

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Look for Sen. Pat Roberts to gain an Appropriations Committee slot in the coming Congress as he shifts off the Senate Intelligence Committee. Sources in Republican leadership say that Sen. Orrin Hatch will move over from Judiciary to Intelligence in place of Roberts.

Roberts is expected to face a stiff re-election battle in Kansas, a state where the Democrat Party has been making some inroads, and where the national party apparently is emboldened to neutralize them. "An Appropriations seat helps Pat on the homefront with constituents," says the Senate leadership aide.

More surprising is Hatch's move from Judiciary, a committee he once chaired. But with the loss of Roberts on Intelligence, leadership felt it needed someone of Hatch's standing to push back against Democrat troublemaking on a committee that has targeted a number of Bush Administration activities for hearings in the coming months.

Some Democrats on Capitol Hill aren't surprised by Sen. Evan Bayh's decision to open an exploratory committee to seek the Democrat presidential nomination. In fact some are hopeful he'll succeed.

"Only if it means he resigns from the Senate to make the run," says a Democrat leadership aide, explaining, "Senator Bayh is not one of our more popular members of the caucus."

Bayh is known to be aloof and less of a team player than some of his colleagues.

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