Conservatives rankled by the so-called purge of four House Republicans from top committees may take some comfort in the list of new GOP Senate committee slots announced last week, which includes a number of high-profile conservative members chosen for top panels.
Senator Pat Toomey (R., Pa.), the former Club for Growth president who has become an increasingly influential player on budget issues, will serve on the Finance Committee, which deals with taxes, trade, and federal entitlement programs.
Freshman senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas), a former state solicitor general and tea-party favorite, will serve on the Judiciary Committee — his top choice — as well as on the Armed Services Committee.
Another freshman member and tea-party figure, Senator Jeff Flake (R., Ariz.), will also serve on the Judiciary Committee, joining Cruz and conservative Senator Mike Lee (R., Utah).
A Republican Senate calls it a “powerful lineup” awaiting potential Supreme Court nominees Obama may put forward during his second term.
Flake was also selected to serve on the Foreign Relations Committee, as was Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.), the tea-party firebrand whose foreign-policy views are often at odds with those of his own party.
The new assignments are pending formal approval by the GOP conference and the Senate as a whole.