New from Washington this afternoon includes U.S. Representative Denny Rehberg (R-Montana) being appointed as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

HELENA — U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., was appointed Friday as chairman of a key subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee that oversees federal spending on Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, the federal health care overhaul, education and labor.

The panel accounts for nearly one out of every four dollars of federal government spending funds the administration of more grant dollars than all other agencies combined, a press release from Rehberg said.

He became chairman of one of the 12 subcommittees of the House Appropriations Committee as the newly elected Republican majority organized the House, which had been controlled by Democrats. The formal name of the panel he will chair is the House Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies.

Rehberg was unanimously approved for the post by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and the House Republican Steering Committee.

In a press release, the six-term congressman said that he will use his new position to fight for reduced federal spending and improved oversight.