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Murkowski retains top energy post

***UPDATE*** Sen. Burr tells NBC News that Republican senators have allowed Sen. Lisa Murkowski to retain her ranking status on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

"The conference decided not to make any changes," said Burr. The conventional wisdom going into the GOP caucus meeting was the Burr would be selected to replace Murkowski.

Senate GOP Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander refused to discuss how it all unfolded behind closed doors. "There are some things that we discussed within the conference and we keep them there," Alexander said moments after the meeting. "We've done what we need to do and we decided not to do more."

Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming was picked to succeed Murkowski as Conference Vice-Chairman.

From NBC's Ken Strickland
Senate Republicans will vote this afternoon on whether to replace Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski as the top Republican on the chamber's Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

In a closed-door session, the GOP conference will consider a recommendation from Republicans on who should replace Murkowski, who was defeated by Joe Miller in the Alaska GOP primary last month.

Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina is expected to be approved for the top slot on the committee.

Even though the GOP establishment has thrown its support behind Miller, Murkowski recently announced she's still running as a write-in candidate in the general election.

That has caused some heartburn within the Republican ranks. "There is an issue as to whether or not it's appropriate for her, under the circumstances, to continue as ranking member on the Energy Committee," Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said yesterday.

The vote is expected at about 2 p.m. ET.

Republicans will also vote on who will replace Murkowski for the leadership position she held as Conference Vice-Chair. She resigned that post shortly after her primary loss. Wyoming's Sen. John Barrasso is expected to get that slot.