Politics Foreign Affairs Culture Fellows Program

McConnell Said to Seek Appropriations Chairmanship After His Leadership

State of the Union: Speculation abounds about the Kentucky Senator’s intentions.
Senate Lawmakers Speak To Media After Weekly Policy Luncheons

Outgoing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is reportedly eyeing a spot as Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, assuming Republicans take the majority in November, as a way to maintain his influence after he steps down from the role of Republican leader.

The move would give McConnell significant power over defense and military aid, and thus can be seen as part of the senator’s battle against so-called “isolationists” in the party. If McConnell becomes the chair and the former President Trump is reelected, this could set up a dispute between the different branches of government, assuming Trump pursues greater realism in foreign policy.


Republican Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) is the current Appropriations vice chair and is expected to become the chair should Republicans take back control of the Senate. McConnell is on the committee, but is ranked lower than Collins, meaning he would be required to leapfrog over her in ranking for the position. Axios reports Collins wants to become appropriations chair which could prompt an internal struggle between her and McConnell. 

McConnell’s possible move is not without precedent, as Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) served as the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee after relinquishing the position of Democrat leader in 1989.