Dems Strip Specter of Any Illusions
SUSIE MADRAK over at Crooks and Liars
While I’m enjoying the sight of Specter’s seniority reduced, he did bring a lot of money to Pennsylvania and I’m hoping my state doesn’t suffer too much as a result:
The Senate last night stripped Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.) of his seniority on committees, a week after the 29-year veteran of the chamber quit the Republican Party to join the Democrats.
In announcing his move across the aisle last week, Specter asserted that Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) had assured him he would retain his seniority in the Senate and on the five committees on which he serves. Specter’s tenure ranked him ahead of all but seven Democrats.
Instead, though, on a voice vote last night, the Senate approved a resolution that made Specter the most junior Democrat on four committees for the remainder of this Congress. (He will rank second from last on the fifth, the Special Committee on Aging.) Reid himself read the resolution on the Senate floor, underscoring the reversal.
Democrats have suggested that they will consider revisiting Specter’s seniority claim at the committee level only after next year’s midterm elections.
“This is all going to be negotiated next Congress,” Jim Manley, a Reid spokesman, said last night.
Specter’s office declined to comment.
The loss of seniority could prove costly to Specter in his campaign to win reelection in 2010, denying him the ability to distinguish himself from a newcomer in his ability to claim key positions.
Specter said last week that becoming chairman of the Appropriations Committee was a personal goal of his, and his Senate service seemed to put him in position to be the third-ranking Democrat there. Now, though, he will not hold even an Appropriations subcommittee chairmanship in 2011 — a critical foothold Specter has used to send billions of dollars to Pennsylvania.