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Specter: Democratic leader promised me seniority

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by Doomsday101, May 6, 2009.

  1. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Democratic leader in the Senate promised Sen. Arlen Specter he would retain his seniority when he jumped from the Republican to the Democratic Party, Specter told CNN on Wednesday, but faced "pushback" from other Democratic senators.

    "Sen. [Harry] Reid said that I would maintain my committee assignments and that my seniority would be established as if I'd been elected in 1980 as a Democrat," the long-serving Pennsylvania senator told CNN's Dana Bash.

    The full Senate voted Tuesday to strip Specter of his seniority, dropping him to the bottom of the pile on every committee he sits on.

    The action came on a resolution -- passed on a unanimous voice vote -- that set out committee assignments for the entire Senate.

    Specter suggested other Democratic senators had objected to his moving ahead of them in the all-important seniority ranks.

    "The caucus has some concerns, some people who would be passed over, and we're going to work it out," he said. "... I'm confident that Sen. Reid's assurances on my seniority will be fulfilled."

    Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat, suggested Specter had irritated his new colleagues by telling The New York Times the Minnesota courts should "do justice" by declaring Republican Norm Coleman the winner of a bitterly disputed Senate race against Democrat Al Franken.

    "I think it made many members very upset," Stabenow said in answer to a CNN question about whether Specter would have maintained his seniority if he had not made the comment. "... It was definitely something that concerned everybody. Yeah."

    Specter's comments to the newspaper appeared about the same time the Democrats were making their decision.

    Sen. Barbara Mikulski, a Maryland Democrat, phrased the concerns of the caucus more generally.

    "We have people here who have worked very hard to achieve their seniority on their committees and subcommittees, and we should keep the same leadership we've had," she told CNN. "It's not personal to Sen. Specter."

    Reid tried to defuse the brewing dispute in comments to CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Wednesday.

    "Arlen is a senior member of the Senate and that is significant. We can try to work something out with the individual chairmen and I'm certainly doing that," he said.

    He urged Democrats to focus on the big picture.

    "I think that everyone should just try to relax and remember that he is a Democrat. We're doing our best to make him happy, and as a Democrat, I think he is," Reid said.

    Reid's spokesman, Jim Manley, separately said, "There was no miscommunication."

    Specter jumped from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party last week, putting the Democrats within reach of a 60-seat "supermajority" that could make it all but impossible for Republicans to block Democratic legislation.

    There is more at stake in the seniority debate than Specter's ego or bragging rights.

    The old saw "rank hath its privileges" holds true in the U.S. Senate as in few other places. With seniority comes the ability to influence legislation.

    Specter has been citing his seniority on the powerful Appropriations Committee -- the one that doles out money -- as he hits the campaign trail as a Democrat.

    "My senior position on appropriations has enabled me to bring a lot of jobs and a lot of federal funding to this state," Specter said at a town hall meeting on Monday.

    Over and over, he made a point of telling an auditorium filled with medical faculty and staff about the hundreds of millions of dollars he delivered to the Keystone State, thanks to the power he's accumulated in his 29 years in the Senate.

    "Pennsylvania has a big interest in my seniority, a big interest," he said.

    As it now stands, Specter is junior to Montana's Sen. Jon Tester, who has been in the Senate since 2007.

    And he lost his top position on the Senate Judiciary Committee, just as it gears up to question President Barack Obama's yet-to-be-named nominee to replace Justice David Souter.

    Specter was in the driver's seat when the Senate Judiciary Committee grilled the two newest Supreme Court justices back in 2005. But he will be the very last to speak this time -- after even Sen. Ted Kaufman of Delaware, who has been a senator for all of four months.

    In fact, only two of the 18 other senators on the committee have been in the upper house longer than Specter -- and he has been in the Senate longer than seven other committee members put together.

    Back in 2005, the Pennsylvania senator was in the driver's seat when the Senate Judiciary Committee grilled the two newest Supreme Court justices.

    But now, when the Judiciary Committee questions President Obama's yet-to-be-named nominee to replace Justice David Souter, Specter will be the very last to speak -- after even Sen. Ted Kaufman of Delaware, who has been a senator for all of four months.
  2. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    As the old TV shows Kojac would say "Who loves you baby"!!!!! :laugh2: How do you like you new playmates Specter. :laugh2:
  3. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Brotherhood of the Beard Staff Member

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    :laugh2: :laugh2: Get's what he deserves for switching for the reasons he switched IMO.

    I would not have much problem if he switched because he just changed his view point on some things, or if he just thought his party had strayed...now he may claim those reasons but I think it is pretty obvious he switched in order to be able to win a primary and therefore try to win his general election.

    On a side note...I wonder if it is a moot point with him or toomie (sp?) if Ridge decides to run.
  4. ScipioCowboy

    ScipioCowboy More than meets the eye. Zone Supporter

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    Specter is a real piece of work.
  5. DIAF

    DIAF DivaLover159

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    Hah. What, did he think that all those other democrats that have been in line for seniority would all just sit around while he cut in line?
  6. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    I wounder where he got that ideal? "Sen. [Harry] Reid said that I would maintain my committee assignments and that my seniority would be established as if I'd been elected in 1980 as a Democrat," the long-serving Pennsylvania senator told CNN's Dana Bash.
  7. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Brotherhood of the Beard Staff Member

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    Well either Reid Lied or Reid was wrong...with Reid I could believe both.
  8. DIAF

    DIAF DivaLover159

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    That's REID. He's not one of the ones Arlen tried to cut in front of.
  9. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    No but Harry Reid is Majority Leader of the United States Senate. Grand Poo Ba if you will. :bow: :laugh2:
  10. trickblue

    trickblue Old Testament... Zone Supporter

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    Hard to dodge that magic bullet isn't it Senator...
  11. DIAF

    DIAF DivaLover159

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    And? That doesn't make him King of the Senate. If anything, that position makes him more malleable.
  12. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    He has quite a bit of power since it is his recommendation that is used to determine the chair leaders of the different committees in this past senate these are the people he put in place:

    The following are the list of anticipated Chairmanships for the 111th Congress:

    Senator Herb Kohl, Chairman, Senate Special Committee on Aging
    Senator Tom Harkin, Chairman, Senate Committee on Agriculture
    Senator Daniel Inouye, Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriations
    Senator Carl Levin, Chairman, Senate Committee on Armed Services
    Senator Christopher Dodd, Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs
    Senator Kent Conrad, Chairman, Senate Committee on Budget
    Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, Chairman, Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
    Senator Jeff Bingaman, Chairman, Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
    Senator Barbara Boxer, Chairwoman, Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works
    Senator Max Baucus, Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance
    Senator John Kerry, Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations (upon the resignation of Senator Joseph Biden)
    Senator Edward Kennedy, Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
    Senator Joseph Lieberman, Chairman, Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
    Senator Byron Dorgan, Chairman, Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
    Senator Dianne Feinstein, Chairwoman, Senate Intelligence Committee
    Senator Patrick Leahy, Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary
    Senator Charles Schumer, Chairman, Senate Committee on Rules and Administration
    Senator Mary Landrieu, Chairwoman, Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship (upon resignation of Senator Joseph Biden and Senator John Kerry assuming Chair of Foreign Relations)
    Senator Daniel Akaka, Chairman, Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs
  13. DIAF

    DIAF DivaLover159

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    Again, so? Does this mean that every democrat in the senate DOES WHAT HE SAYS ON COMMAND, no it doesn't. It's his job primarily to hold them all together and you can't do that without being at least a bit sensitive to everyone's circumstances. You don't want to piss anyone off if you think you need their vote on something. Promising Arlen seniority was a baaaaaaaaad move and we are seeing now that Harry Reid does NOT indeed rule the Senate with an iron fist.
  14. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    Don't get me wrong I'm thrilled that the Dems screwed Specter over they seem to be a match made in heaven
  15. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    No it means he carries a certain amount of weight as the leader of the senate, does not mean everyone jumps when he says so but to make promises to Specter as the senate majority leader and they backdoor him I think the party is showing what they are and Specter deserves it.
  16. DIAF

    DIAF DivaLover159

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    I don't think the party is showing "what they are", because the Majority Leader was wrong to promise that to him in the first place. God knows if I were a Republican in the Senate, and someone like Lieberman or Miller (when he was a senator) switched parties I'd be pissed off as hell if they jumped in front of me. I would hope that Republicans would behave no differently. If anything, this shows what a jackhole Harry Reid is.
  17. arglebargle

    arglebargle Well-Known Member

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    He shoulda got it in writing!

    Though that might not have worked either. Internal legislative shenanigans are not usually reviewable by the other branches of government, so there's probably not much he could do, even with a piece of paper.
  18. ShiningStar

    ShiningStar Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, a piece of written paper means so much to lawyers. Sure its in the will, lets dissect it and see what we see when we create a new puzzle.
  19. Danny White

    Danny White Winter is Coming

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  20. ABQCOWBOY

    ABQCOWBOY Moderator Staff Member

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    :lmao:

    Possibly the best post I've ever seen you make Danny.

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