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Lott to take over key Senate committee

From Jonathan Karl
CNN Washington Bureau

Sen. Trent Lott
Sen. Trent Lott

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SPECIAL REPORT
• Gallery: Reactions
• Profile: Bill Frist
• Timeline: Fall of a Leader
• Timeline: Trent Lott's Career

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Sen. Trent Lott is expected to lead a Senate committee in the new Congress after being pushed out as majority leader, Republican sources told CNN Friday.

Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pennsylvania, the incoming chairman of the Rules and Administration Committee, offered to step aside and Lott accepted. The move must be approved by the Senate Republican leadership, which is expected to vote on it Monday.

Santorum already serves as chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, the No. 3 position in the party's leadership.

The committee oversees the rules and organization of the Senate, federal election matters and administration of the Senate office buildings.

Lott, R-Mississippi, gave up the majority leader's post last month amid a political firestorm over remarks he made at Sen. Strom Thurmond's 100th birthday party that the country would have been better off if Thurmond's 1948 segregationist presidential bid had succeeded. A series of public apologies failed to repair the damage, and Lott gave up his leadership post December 20.

He was replaced by Sen. Bill Frist, R-Tennessee.

After giving up the majority leader's job, Lott had indicated that he would not seek a committee chairmanship, saying he was "not looking for any kind of soft landing."



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