No-One Could Have Anticipated…

April 29th, 2009at 11:15pm Posted by Eli

Hey, guess what!  Senate Democrats don’t like being leapfrogged by someone who’s only been a Democrat for a day:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) deal to allow Sen. Arlen Specter to retain his seniority after he switches to the Democratic Conference has not been received well by senior senators in the party.

Several Democrats are furious with Reid for agreeing to let Specter (Pa.) keep the seniority accrued over more than 28 years as a Republican senator. That could allow him to leap past senior Democrats on powerful panels — including the Appropriations and Judiciary committees.

“I won’t be happy if I don’t get to chair something because of Arlen Specter,” said Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), who sits on the Appropriations Committee with Specter and is fifth in seniority among Democrats behind Chairman Daniel Inouye (Hawaii), Sens. Robert Byrd (W.Va.), Patrick Leahy (Vt.) and Tom Harkin (Iowa). “I’m happy with the Democratic order but I don’t want to be displaced because of Arlen Specter,” she said.

One senior Democratic lawmaker told The Hill that the Democratic Conference will vote against giving the longtime Pennsylvania Republican seniority over lawmakers like Harkin, Mikulski and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) when they hold their organizational meeting after the 2010 election.

Specter was elected in 1980, and under his deal with Reid would jump ahead of all but a few Democrats when it comes time to dole out committee chairmanships and assignments.

“That’s his deal and not the caucus’s,” the senior lawmaker said of Reid’s agreement with Specter.

The lawmaker requested anonymity because the issue of Specter’s seniority is “a sensitive subject.”

I would love to see the Democrats leave D-Arlen high and dry with less seniority than Roland Burris.  Better yet, I’d love to see some of them so pissed off that they back Sestak or Torsella in the Democratic primary (Hey, if he gets voted out, seniority is kind of a moot point, right?).  Of course, I’m pretty sure Harry would view that as an inexcusable breach of party discipline – far worse than voting against cloture or campaigning against the Democratic presidential candidate in a general election.

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Specter


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