WASHINGTON — Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., swapped committee assignments Thursday, giving up a panel post from which he wrote veterans health and benefit bills.
In exchange, Ensign joined a panel that oversees federal election laws and the inner workings of the Senate.
The Nevadan’s placement on the Senate Rules and Administration Committee reflects his continuing climb among Republican leaders.
The rules committee is composed of senior senators who referee disputes over Senate procedures and finances, and who assign office space in the Capitol. The panel also has jurisdiction over campaign finance laws and the management of federal elections.
Ensign joined an inner circle of Senate leaders last year when he became chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, a campaign arm of the party.
“Serving on the rules committee will provide me with a great opportunity to continue advancing several legislative issues I’ve worked on since coming to the Senate,” Ensign said. “I’m looking forward to beginning my work on this prestigious committee.”
In accepting the new role, Ensign was required to drop another panel and left the Veterans Affairs Committee, said his spokesman, Tory Mazzola.
On the VA committee, he had pushed the Department of Veterans Affairs to build a medical center in Southern Nevada and had arranged federal funding for the fast-growing veterans population in the state.
“Serving Nevada’s veterans remains one of his top priorities and he will continue to do so,” Mazzola said.
Besides the rules committee, Ensign also sits on the Finance; Budget; and Commerce, Science and Transportation committees.