The Washington Post is reporting this morning that Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.), who the Democrats stripped of all seniority in a low-profile voice vote late Tuesday night, will retain some of his seniority. In a deal struck with Democratic leaders, Specter will take over the chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee’s Crime and Drugs subpanel.
Under the deal, which Senate Democratic aides outlined this morning, Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) would give up the gavel of the prestigious post, which holds jurisdiction over most Justice Department activities. Durbin would take over a newly restored human rights subcommittee, which was dissolved at the beginning of the current 111th Congress because none of the committee members were available to run it.
The significance of this is clear, looking ahead to Specter’s 2010 reelection run. The 29-year Senate veteran will be 80 years old next year, and he’s got no greater asset than his upper-chamber seniority. Take that away and you’ve just neutered him. This is the Democrats’ attempt to let him retain some boasting rights on the campaign trail.
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Rep. Parker Griffith (R-Ala.)
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School of Hock
A growing number of college grads are defaulting on their student loans as the economy worsens.