Kansas Senator No Longer Top GOP Member of Ag Panel

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts is no longer the top Republican on the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee, but he’s pledging to remain a strong advocate for farmers, ranchers and rural areas.

Roberts said Thursday that he’ll retain a seat on the Agriculture Committee. He also remains on the Finance Committee, and the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

Roberts says he’s also expecting to become the ranking Republican on the Senate Rules Committee. He sees the position as important to opening up debates on issues such as the federal budget deficit.

The new ranking Republican on the Agriculture Committee is Thad Cochran of Mississippi, who has more seniority than Roberts and had to give up the top GOP spot on the Appropriations Committee.