David Perdue's new committee perches give him more say over defense, financial regs

Sen. Johnny Isakson, left, and Sen. David Perdue, right, campaign together in 2014. (AP photo/John Bazemore)

Sen. Johnny Isakson, left, and Sen. David Perdue, right, campaign together in 2014. (AP photo/John Bazemore)

WASHINGTON -- It may have taken him two years, but Georgia U.S. Sen. David Perdue on Tuesday finally got his campaign wish to serve on the powerful Senate committee that oversees national defense.

Senate Republican leadership announced that Perdue will serve on the Armed Services Committee in the new Congress, giving Georgia its seat back after two years. When Republican Saxby Chambliss retired in 2014, Georgia was left without a member on the panel for the first time since 1972.

Regaining a seat on the committee was a major priority of Georgia leaders given the state's significant military presence. The panel will be square one for any debates on closing military bases, a scenario the state brass would obviously like to avoid given the bases' significant economic impact.

"It is our responsibility to support our military and ensure our troops have the tools they need to protect our homeland and support our allies around the world," Perdue said in a statement. "We must also look for ways to streamline operations at the Department of Defense so we can dedicate more of our resources to completing our military’s missions and preparing for future challenges.”

Perdue on Tuesday also snagged a spot on the Senate Banking Committee, which will put the former Fortune 500 CEO at the center of efforts to roll back the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory overhaul.

In order to get on those committees, Perdue dropped his membership on three other panels, including the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will vet Donald Trump's Supreme Court and attorney general nominees, and the Senate Foreign Relations panel, where he had chaired a subcommittee overseeing the State Department. He'll stay on the Senate Agriculture and Budget committees.

Meanwhile, Johnny Isakson is expected to stay on as chairman of the Senate Ethics and Veterans' Affairs panels. Committee members will vote on his chairmanships in the days ahead.

Isakson will also stay on as a member of the Finance and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions panels, which will put him at the center of any confirmation battles over Tom Price's health and human services nomination.