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Grassley’s Plan: Cake and Eatin’ it Too

In the aftermath of Sen. Arlen Specter’s (D-Pa.) defection from the Republican Party earlier this week, we wondered about Sen. Charles Grassley’s (R-Iowa) plans for leadership slots on the various committees where he sits. Briefly, because of GOP conference rules, Grassley faces the dilemma of either dropping his ranking position on the Finance Committee in order to grab the senior Republican spot on the Judiciary Committee, or giving up the coveted Judiciary slot to keep his perch on Finance.

Or he could have both.

Roll Call (subscription required) reported yesterday that Grassley is shopping around a plan to keep the Finance position until his term expires in 2011, and then move to the top spot on Judiciary.

The plan involves persuading his GOP colleagues to allow Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) to act as the temporary ranking member of the Judiciary Committee for the rest of this Congress. Then, Grassley would swap jobs with Hatch, who is next in line for the ranking member job on Finance.

Because Hatch has served at the helm of Judiciary in the past, he isn’t eligible for the ranking spot without a waiver. But the Hatch waiver wouldn’t be the greatest obstacle to Grassley’s strategy.

[T]he proposal — which several Republicans said Grassley is actively shopping to his colleagues — would mean that Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) would get frozen out of the ranking slots on both panels.

Indeed, some conservatives are already pushing to have Sessions assume the top spot on Judiciary, Roll Call reported today. Grassley’s office did not respond to requests for comment Friday.

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