Sen. Boxer (D-Calif.) will remain as chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in the 113th Congress according to committee assignments approved on Dec. 12 by the Democratic Steering Committee. The assignment is subject to approval by the full Democratic caucus and an organizing resolution by the full Senate when the next Congress convenes in January.

There was earlier speculation that Sen. Boxer might move to chair the Foreign Relations Committee if Sen. Kerry (D-Mass.), the committee's current chairman, resigns from the Senate to lead the Defense Dept. On Dec. 11, Sen. Boxer told reporters that she would consider leaving the chairmanship of the Senate Environment Committee "under no circumstances."

Sen. Vitter (R-La.) will take over as the committee's Ranking Member, replacing Sen. Inhofe (R-Okla.). Self-imposed rules by Republicans limit them to six years in committee leadership positions.

H.R. 872, a bill that would amend the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide & Rodenticide Act and the Clean Water Act to override a Sixth Circuit ruling requiring EPA to permit certain pesticide uses, was passed by the House in 2011. The Senate parliamentarian erroneously assigned it to the Agriculture Committee. Sen. Boxer put a hold on the bill and negotiations for her release of the bill were futile. If H.R. 872 is introduced during the 113th Congress as a stand-alone bill, it will be assigned to Sen. Boxer’s committee where it is sure to die.