Senior Senate Democrats are objecting to the deal Majority Leader Harry Reid made with Sen. Arlen Specter, saying they will vote against letting the former Republican shoot to the top of powerful committees after he switches parties.
Several Democrats are furious with Sen. Reid (D-Nev.) for agreeing to let Specter (Pa.) keep his seniority, accrued over more than 28 years as a GOP senator. That agreement would allow Specter 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) and 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.
Under his deal with Reid, Specter 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.
I feel their pain. It's very annoying when powerful party pooh bahs make back room deals that foreclose the normal Democratic processes. For instance, when they promise a party switcher that he won't have a primary opponent. I hate when that happens.