WASHINGTON — South Carolina Republican Sen. Tim Scott has joined the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Scott is the second South Carolinian on the powerful panel, alongside Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham. Nebraska is the other state with two seats on the committee.
Scott, whose national security positions are not well known, told reporters Wednesday that “listening is my first approach.”
“I have two brothers who’ve served,” he said. “I think force readiness and looking at the size and scope of our reach will be important to me. [Military construction] will be important as well.”
Scott said one of his brothers is an Air Force Academy graduate and another is a retired Army sergeant major.
Scott was first appointed to the Senate in 2012 to replace retiring Sen. Jim DeMint by Nikki Haley, now U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and then the state’s governor. Scott won a special election in 2014 and was elected to a full term in 2016.
South Carolina is home to Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, where there are five Marine Corps F/A-18 squadrons and one F-35B fleet replacement squadron. The state also houses the U.S. Air Force’s largest combat F-16 wing at Shaw Air Force Base. It is also home to Fort Jackson, where the Army performs basic combat training, as well as the Marine recruiting depot at Parris Island.
U.S. Senate Republicans on Tuesday made their updated committee assignments for the 115th Congress official.
Graham welcomed Scott to the committee Wednesday, saying: “I think it will be great for our state, it will be great for our country. … He comes from Charleston, which is a pro-military community. He brings a lot to the table.”
Scott is taking the SASC seat vacated by Sen. Luther Strange, R-Ala. After Democratic Sen. Doug Jones won a dramatic victory in Alabama, membership on Senate committees changed to reflect the new 51-49 Republican majority in the Senate.
Aerospace state Alabama had been represented on the powerful panel for 20 years by Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. Sessions left the Senate to become U.S. attorney general.
Senate Democratic leadership did not add any members of its caucus to the SASC.