- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 4, 2003

Sen. Trent Lott will take over the chairmanship of the Rules and Administration Committee as consolation for stepping aside as majority leader when Congress returns to work next week.
The move was made possible by Sen. Rick Santorum, Pennsylvania Republican, a Lott loyalist who was next in line for the chairmanship of the panel.
Mr. Santorum already holds a leadership post as chairman of the Republican Conference and is expected to step aside from the Rules and Administration Committee in order to allow the former majority leader to retain a leadership position.
"I have the experience and the background to be very much a player," Mr. Lott, Mississippi Republican, told the Associated Press yesterday.
The senator said he will also hold seats on the Finance, Commerce and Intelligence committees.
The Rules Committee assigns proposed legislation to committees and establishes rules and regulations for the floor and gallery.
The committee also has power over office space assignments dear to senators and staff members, as well as Capitol "hideaways" private offices for senators which are so secret some of their own staffers don't know the locations.
Mr. Lott resigned as Republican Senate leader in December after a public firestorm that lasted more than two weeks because of racially charged comments he made at a 100th birthday party for Sen. Strom Thurmond, South Carolina Republican.
Mr. Lott praised Mr. Thurmond's 1948 presidential candidacy. Mr. Thurmond then ran as a Dixiecrat on a platform of states' rights and segregation. Mr. Thurmond has since apologized for his views on segregation.
Mr. Lott's resignation will become official on Monday, when Republicans are expected to meet and finalize all committee chairmanship appointments.
Throughout the Lott flap, the White House never called for the Mississippi Republican to resign, but privately conceded he had become a political liability.
Republicans elected Sen. Bill Frist of Tennessee to be the new majority leader in December, but some conservatives on Capitol Hill are already grumbling that the Senate will become the tool of the White House.

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