Senator John McCain, one of the loudest critics of President Obama on foreign policy, is expected to chair the powerful Armed Services Committee in the new Republican-controlled Senate.
McCain, the Republican Party’s presidential nominee in 2008, has frequently criticized the Obama administration on a range of defense and foreign policy issues, including the troop drawdown from Iraq and a reluctance to supply lethal arms to Ukraine as well as militants in Syria.
As Armed Services Committee chairman, McCain would have an influential role in spearheading hawkish policies from Congress.
The Arizona Republican would be involved in writing the Senate’s version of the National Defense Authorization Act, an annual bill that sets policies on military spending, military bases, and weapons programs.
Defense analysts say McCain would probably push for tougher congressional scrutiny of costly US weapons programs, including the $399 billion Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jet program as well as the use of Russian-made rocket engines.
McCain has not been officially named to head the committee. He made his interest public earlier this year. “I would be so happy to be chairman of the Armed Services Committee,” a told a Phoenix radio station.
The Republican Party secured a majority in the Senate by picking up at least seven seats in Tuesday’s midterm elections.
The outcome foreshadows a tougher final two years for President Barack Obama under a greater Republican power and influence in Washington.