Susan Collins joins Intelligence Committee, leaves Homeland Security in new assignments

By Robert Long, BDN Staff
Posted Jan. 03, 2013, at 3:05 p.m.

WASHINGTON — Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, will replace her longtime colleague, retiring U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, on the Senate Intelligence Committee in the 113th Congress that was sworn in Thursday.

Collins will move from the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs to the Intelligence Committee. Maine’s new senior senator announced Thursday that she also will continue to serve on the Senate Appropriations Committee, as well as in the role of the top Republican on the Special Committee on Aging. Senate Republican caucus rules preclude Collins from continuing as that party’s leader on the Homeland Security Committee.

When she was chairwoman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Collins wrote the 2004 Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act that made sweeping changes to the national intelligence system in response to the 9/11, terrorist attacks. As ranking minority member of the committee, she released a report Monday that blistered the State Department for security failures that contributed to the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012.

Collins will move to a senior position for the minority party on the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. In that role, she will continue to advocate for Maine’s defense contractors and for Portsmouth Naval Shipyard’s ongoing prominence in U.S. Navy operations.

Collins will continue to serve as the most senior Republican on the Senate Transportation and Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee, which oversees funding for the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“As ranking member of the Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, I know well the positive effects of investing in our nation’s aging infrastructure,” she said in a release Thursday. “This investment not only repairs crumbling roads and bridges allowing the critical flow of goods and services, but also boosts the economy and creates much-needed jobs.”

Collins’ elevation to ranking member of the Committee on Aging marks the first time that a Mainer has led the committee since Sen. William Cohen, whom Collins succeeded in 1997.

Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, who was sworn in Thursday as Snowe’s successor, will join Collins on the Intelligence Committee, while also serving on the Armed Services, Rules and Budget committees. Days after winning a six-person race to succeed Snowe, King announced that he would caucus with Senate Democrats, who hold a majority with 55 caucus members, including King and independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/01/03/politics/susan-collins-joins-intelligence-committee-leaves-homeland-security-in-new-assignments/ printed on November 24, 2014