The weeks-long battle to chair the powerful Senate Budget Committee ended Wednesday with a peaceful accord, allowing Sen. Mike Enzi, the most senior Republican on the panel, to take the gavel in January.
Many believed that Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, who has served as ranking member since 2011, would take over the Budget Committee in 2015. But Enzi, who holds a slight edge in seniority on the panel over Sessions, announced in November that he would challenge Sessions for the gavel shortly after Republicans won the majority.
Enzi said in a press release Wednesday that he and Sessions had come to an agreement to allow the Wyoming lawmaker to take over the committee next year.
Sessions' loss of the top slot on the committee could have a major impact on the immigration debate, as Republicans work to find an appropriate rebuttal to President Obama's executive action. Sessions is one of the leading opponents of the administration's actions on immigration and has carried the issue throughout his congressional career. Enzi is no more a fan of the administration's actions, but many on Capitol Hill saw the issue as the key focus of a Sessions-led Budget Committee.
Enzi's chairmanship will set a markedly different tone on the committee, where Sessions has been a vocal and energetic advocate for major spending cuts. Enzi and Sessions differ on little ideologically, but Enzi is a much more mild-mannered member, far less prone to the lively floor speeches and television appearances that are Sessions' bread and butter.