Blue Dog Dems Elect Ross Chairman; Lincoln, Pryor Get Panel Assignments

NOVEMBER 15, 2006 - Posted at 7:52 a.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK (AP) - Arkansas Congressman Mike Ross will help lead a group of fiscally conservative Democrats called the Blue Dog Coalition during the coming congressional session, as one of three co-chairmen.

Ross, who had been whip for the group, says he was elected to the leadership post in a closed meeting Tuesday. He declined to identify the other two chairs of the group, which has 44 members who serve in the U-S House of Representatives with Ross.

Reorganization efforts in the wake of last week's election that put the Democrats back in the majority in both the House and Senate continued on the Senate side also.

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Committee assignments announced Tuesday by the Senate's new Democratic leadership gave Senator Blanche Lincoln a seat again on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, while Senator Mark Pryor got seats on the chamber's Armed Forces and Rules committees. Lincoln and Pryor are Democrats.

Lincoln had formerly been a member of the energy panel, but had to give that seat up when she got a post on the Senate Finance Committee in 2000. She will retain her finance panel seat as well as membership on the Agriculture Committee and on the Special Committee on Aging.

Pryor's new committee seats are in addition to his membership on Commerce, Homeland Security, Ethics, and Small Business panels.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)