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The Brownback candidacy watch

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Senate Republicans announced their committee memberships Monday, and the decisions give us some fodder for the Sam Brownback in '06? or '08? WatchThe speculation, of course, is that the senator will either run for Kansas governor in 2006, or U.S. president in 2008.[The Associated Press][1] reports: "Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., will stay on the Appropriations Committee and will join the Judiciary Committee, which will review all of the president's judicial nominees. He is giving up the Foreign Relations and Commerce Committee."So why does this give us a clue? Because in the past, senators with an eye towards the presidency - such as John Edwards of North Carolina - have used the Foreign Relations committee to build up their foreign policy credentials for the campaign trail.The Appropriations Committee, on the other hand, is where senators can make the home voters happier by bringing home the bacon of federal appropriations. Better, in other words, if you're going to make a run for governor.Previous reports had indicated Brownback had to choose between Foreign Relations and Appropriations - he couldn't sit on both committees. His choice may tell us something about his political future.Brownback and abortion On another note, Brownback's appointment to the judiciary committee has conservatives cheering. It puts him in a position to help push through President Bush's judicial nominees - and to be at the center of any battles over pro-life Supreme Court nominees.[The Washington Post reports:][2] "Senate Republican leaders yesterday appointed two of Congress's most outspoken antiabortion members to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is bracing for potentially bruising hearings on nominations to the Supreme Court. "Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and Sen.-elect Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) will join the panel's eight returning Republicans next month, assuming the Republican Conference follows tradition and approves the leadership's committee assignments for all 55 GOP senators. The breakdown of Judiciary will be 10 Republicans and eight Democrats. "Antiabortion groups hailed yesterday's appointments, while advocates of keeping abortion legal expressed dismay. 'The color code for potential threats to the Constitution just went from orange to red,' said Ralph G. Neas of People for the American Way. 'It's hard to believe the Judiciary Committee could go any farther to the right, but it just did.' "Conservative groups see it differently. 'I'm very pleased with it, obviously,' said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice. 'Sam Brownback and Tom Coburn are friends of ours.'"Pat Roberts' committees The other U.S. senator from Kansas will continue to wield a fair amount of influence in Washington.The earlier AP article says: "Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., on Monday announced that Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., will continue as chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.Roberts will also sit on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, Armed Services, Health Education Labor and Pensions (HELP) and the Senate Ethics Committee. Other links today:Sam Brownback links [Senator Will Reintroduce Measure Highlighting Fetal Pain During Abortion:][3] "A leading pro-life senator says he will reintroduce a measure during the next session of Congress that will focus on the pain an unborn child experiences during an abortion procedure," reports LifeNews.com. "Sen. Sam Brownback, a Kansas Republican, will put forward the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act that would require abortion practitioners to explain to women considering an abortion after 20 weeks into the pregnancy that unborn children feel intense pain. a measure during the next session of Congress that will focus on the pain an unborn child experiences during an abortion procedure."[Ethnic Koreans to Rally Against China's Stance on Refugees:][4] "Ethnic Korean groups and North Korean human rights activists in the United States are planning to stage international protests against China's forced repatriation of North Korean defectors in major American cities including Washington DC on Dec. 22," reports Chosun.com. "In the U.S. administrative capital, a protest will be held outside the Chinese Embassy by North Korean human rights groups including the Defense Forum, with Sen. Sam Brownback attending. More protests will also take place in front of the Chinese consulates in San Francisco, New York and Chicago."How to contact As always, you can find information to contact members of the Kansas congressional delegation [here.][5] [1]: http://cjonline.com/stories/122104/pag_senroberts.shtml [2]: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A14759-2004Dec20.html [3]: http://www.lifenews.com/nat1056.html [4]: http://english.chosun.com/w21data/html/news/200412/200412210021.html [5]: http://ljworld.com/extra/where_to_write.html#fed

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