MN-Sen: Republicans Concede Coleman Loss When Striking Deals On Committee Ratios
by Todd Beeton, Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 01:47:53 PM EST
Interesting. From CQ, we have another in a string of "elections have consequences" stories...
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have reached a tentative agreement that would give Democrats a three-seat advantage on most committees during the 111th Congress.
That is a big change from the 110th Congress, when the party held only a 51-49 operating majority in the full Senate and a one-seat edge on most committees.
Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow , head of the Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee, said Democrats negotiated a larger, four-seat advantage on the Appropriations and Armed Services committees. By statute, Democrats will have only a one-seat edge on the Intelligence Committee and a two-seat advantage on the Joint Economic Committee. On all other committees -- except the Ethics panel, which always includes three members of each party -- there will be three more Democrats than Republicans, Stabenow said.
But this one was made all the sweeter by the news of a certain concession made by Republicans during negotiations...
The major sticking point of the lengthy and sometimes difficult ratio negotiations -- whether to count the still-unresolved Minnesota Senate election as a Democratic pickup -- appears to have been resolved in Democrats' favor.
Stabenow said the ratios she disclosed Tuesday assume Democrats will enjoy an effective 59-41 edge in the Senate as a whole, a margin the party would achieve only if they win Minnesota.
Norm Coleman is still stubbornly litigating the certification of Al Franken's recount victory, which MN's Secretary of State, Marc Ritchie, in turn, continues to accept as an obstacle to his officially certifying Franken as the next Senator from Minnesota. Franken, in an aggressive move today, has announced his intention to fight Ritchie's lack of action.
In a conference call with reporters just now, lead Franken attorney Marc Elias announced that the campaign is filing a lawsuit at the state Supreme Court to force GOP Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Democratic Secretary of State Mark Ritchie to issue Franken a certificate of election, and send him to the Senate.
Elias placed a request with Pawlenty and Ritchie yesterday, which was promptly rejected, arguing that Franken was entitled to a certificate contrary to the conventional wisdom that state law blocks the issuing of a certificate until after Norm Coleman's lawsuit to overturn the result is settled.
Not so, Elias argues, saying that a different section of the same law would actually require the issuing of a certificate in a legislative contest, with its discussion of revoking an already-issued certificate if the contest concludes with the original loser now on top. "So there is a tension between these two provisions," Elias said. But he thinks the provision he's relying upon will trump the other because it is the more specific of the two.
Nice. Another strong move by Team Franken, which has really played the recount just about perfectly.