Monday, August 31, 2009

Ripples from Senator Kennedy's death

A story in the Wall Street Journal's weekend edition makes an important point about the political fall-out from Senator Edward Kennedy's demise.

Kennedy had chaired the Senate's Health committee, which was to have made him the administration's point man in efforts to reform the US health care system. Now that he is gone, it appears that one of my Senators, Christopher Dodd, will take over at Health.

Yet Senate rules prohibit Dodd from chairing more than one committee at a time, so this will mean he'll have to step down as chair of the Banking Committee. He was to have been the administration's go-to guy for the re-wiring of financial regulation. The question then is: who will step in there?

Next in line would be Senator Tim Johnson. Johnson has in the recent past broken with his party over financial-regulatory issues, so he may not be a loyal soldier for President Obama's plans. The administration might have to chose between fighting to keep him out of that chairmanship, or lettinbg him take it and trying to work around him.

I recommend the story, which had Damian Paletta's byline and gave a contribution credit to Jonathan Weisman.

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