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January 2013 Group Watch: Sen Shelby Gains Important Seat

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama is the new top Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee, where he will have an even greater say in how federal dollars are spent. The slot opened when Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi moved to become the top GOP member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. For Shelby, it was a two-decade-long wait for his seniority to accumulate. Senate Republicans gave him a seat on the coveted panel after he switched parties in 1994, and he has showered the state with federal dollars ever since — mostly for defense and aerospace projects; medical, science and engineering facilities; and public universities. As vice chair, he will have a strong say over federal budget items such as Social Security and Medicare.

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