Politico: Dodd To Stay At Banking

Big scoop from Politico:

Sen. Chris Dodd is expected to remain chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, two Senate insiders told POLITICO.

Dodd is expected to make the announcement Wednesday, according to sources in Connecticut and Washington.

A decision to stay at the banking panel rather than take the gavel at the Senate would be a surprise after widespread speculation that the embattled Dodd would prefer to take the top spot at the Health, Education, Pensions and Labor committee left vacant by the late Ted Kennedy. But staying at Banking would allow Dodd to be the lead player on a major overhaul of financial regulations later this fall. With Dodd staying on Banking, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), would be next in line to take the Health committee chairmanship and guide that panel through the final negotiations on health care.

This comes as a bit of a surprise, given Dodd's friendship with Kennedy and his need for a poll-bolstering move, but it also seems like good news to me. Harkin's not a bad guy to have in charge of the labor committee; I'm caring less and less about Senate health care posturing in the hopes that the House takes the lead; and as iffy as Dodd may be at Banking, he's probably a better choice than the more conservative Tim Johnson (D-SD) would be. If Harkin does take the position, the embattled Blanche Lincoln will likely take over his role as Chair, a move that could help us keep her Arkansas seat in Democratic (if not progressive) hands.

Tags: AK-Sen, Blanche Lincoln, Chris Dodd, CT-Sen, Tim Johnson, Tom Harkin (all tags)

Comments

10 Comments

That WAS why he ran

I sat with DSCC in a press event last November where they were discussing 2010 targets and one of them listed Dodd as an incumbent. I quickly asked why since he had said he would stand down in 2010 and was told "Sadly Teddy Kennedy isn't going to be around much longer and Dodd would get to chair his committee"

I wonder if this is a sign that Dodd will step aside next year...or if he wants to use healthcare and financial regulation for his reelection chances.

Though I'm not sure either is particularly helpful or hurtful in Connecticut.

by DTOzone 2009-09-08 05:41PM | 0 recs
Re: That WAS why he ran

Since the Senate bill will have no public option, there is little electoral benefit for Dodd to be chair of the health panel...  in fact, it would probably hurt him with so many Democratic base voters disillusioned with the resulting health care "compromise".

by LordMike 2009-09-08 06:12PM | 0 recs
Honestly

Dodd couldn't give a damn about that. If there is one place in the country where having no public option will mean bupkus for the voters, it's insurance industry dominated Connecticut.

Public Option, no Public Option, it won't matter there either way.

Connecticut has one of the lowest percentages of uninsured in the country, and I read somewhere it has one of the lowest average premiums. This is why Lieberman can act the way he does.

Dodd could sell a completely private health insurance reform package and it would fly in Connecticut, regardless of what "base" voters think. The "base" in Connecticut is very different than the "base" in Michigan, Ohio or Indiana.

by DTOzone 2009-09-08 06:23PM | 0 recs
Harkin might want to stay at Agriculture

He'll be able to draft the next Farm Bill in 2014, before his term ends.

by desmoinesdem 2009-09-08 05:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Harkin might want to stay at Agriculture

I sat in on every public conference meeting for last year's farm bill and heard a lot of backroom stories that didn't make it to print. Harkin was a real pushover. If it wasn't for Kent Conrad, Peterson and the House would have run roughshod over Harkin and the Senate. He doesn't seem to have the stomach for farm bill politics...

by Nathan Empsall 2009-09-08 05:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Politico: Dodd To Stay At Banking

I'd expect Harkin to keep the Ag chair.  Harkin not having the stomach for farm bill politics is ridiculous.  If he takes the HELP Chair, it's a pull, not a push.  He's a great friend of labor and has already done a lot on health issues, including the Americans with Disabilities Act.  

If Harkin keeps the Ag chair, I doubt Tim Johnson's health would allow him to take HELP chair.  Barbara Mikulski in next in line and would probably be chair.  That wouldn't be such a bad outcome.  

by Thaddeus 2009-09-08 06:28PM | 0 recs
no, but like nraf

I was struck by the Blanche Lincoln connection. There is no better way to protect an embattered member of your caucus than throw him or her into a chairmanship where he or she can funnel a lot of pork to their states.

Arkansas can put Ag pork to good use...well, to use anyway. It gives Lincoln a good rallying cry "You can't get rid of me, I'm chairwoman of the Agriculture committee!"

by DTOzone 2009-09-08 06:58PM | 0 recs
Speaking of Mikulski

She is the most senior Democrat not to chair a committee -- anyone know why?

by DaveMB 2009-09-09 10:00AM | 0 recs
She chairs a couple of subcommittees

but I think it's likely she might retire next year. It's Maryland, so she really doesn't have to do it early. There's no Republicans in that state who could win a Senate seat...if Michael Steele couldn't, who could?

by DTOzone 2009-09-09 11:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Speaking of Mikulski

To my understanding, it's pretty simple - someone more senior than her happens to sit on every committee she's on. That's why she was pretty steamed about Reid trying to let Specter keep his seniority.

by Nathan Empsall 2009-09-09 12:24PM | 0 recs

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