Skip to comments.Last Hurrahs for 5 Retiring Senate Chairmen (bums' rush: Dems hightailin' it outta Dodge City)
Posted on 01/16/2014 5:29:23 AM PST by Liz
EDITED TO AVOID BORING FREEPERS TO DEATH.....several stalwarts of the Democratic caucus write the final chapter in their Senate careers.....among the last connections to the Old Bulls w/ some 150 years of combined service.
Five top Democratic chairmen are now in their final year as senators. Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin of Michigan Levin, Tom Harkin of Iowa, Tim Johnson of South Dakota and Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia are set to depart when their terms expire. Finance Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., is expected to resign early to become the U.S. ambassador to China.
,.....the new Old Bulls are women. Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray of Washington and Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara A. Mikulski of Maryland have led their caucus in recent budget negotiations, and Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan continues to lead efforts to complete a farm bill.
Republicans change committee leaders far more frequently, since their conference has six-year term limits for chairmen and ranking members, a point made by Senate Historian Emeritus Richard A. Baker.Baker, the co-author of The American Senate: An Insiders History, said that there have been numerous similar waves in the past, including in 1996.
Usually the rising chairmen and women also have been around awhile and, by virtue of their own seniority, ease the transitions, Baker said in an email. The obvious losers are the states represented by the departing chairs.
Former Sen. Ted Kaufman, a longtime Senate aide who took the seat vacated by his former boss, Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, noted that in recent years theres been huge turnover in the chairman ranks. The good news is that I am very impressed with the newer members who will become chairs if the Democrats hold on to control of the senate. They are among the best that I have seen in my 40 years, Kaufman said. The bad news is that being chair is a very complex position, and because the Senate relies so much on precedent, institutional memory is very important. There will be a learning process.
What people constantly overlook is the fact that right underneath a bunch of us is a bunch of absolutely superbly trained people whore ready to take over, said Rockefeller, who was first elected in 1984. He called the prospective successors very, very good members, and so we lose a little experience but no knowledge and no fortitude.
Like Rockefeller at the Commerce Committee, his classmate Tom Harkin of Iowa will yield the gavel of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. It represents opportunities for a lot of Democrats to move up and take positions of responsibility and leadership, so its a good thing, Harkin said. Its time to get younger people moving up the ladder.
Baucus likewise noted other senators always adjust, adapt and step up.......successors wont exactly be spring chickens. The anticipated Baucus confirmation to the China posting would clear the way for Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden to be Finance chairman. Wydens been in the Senate since winning a 1996 special election to fill the seat vacated when Republican Bob Packwood, another Finance chairman, resigned in disgrace.When Packwood resigned, Baucus was already second in seniority among panel Democrats behind only Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York.
In the meantime, the retiring chairmen dont plan on going away quietly. Harkin and Rockefeller have both taken passes on traditionally more plum assignments than their current roles due to unexpected vacancies late in their final terms. Rockefeller has said he wont assert seniority on Finance, and Harkin opted against pursuing the chairmanship of the Appropriations Committee, helping hand it to Mikulski when it was vacated by the death of Daniel K. Inouye, D-Hawaii.
The No. 1 priority for the retiring Armed Services chairman will be the same as in any other year: completing work on the annual defense authorization bill. But when asked about other plans, Levin was quick to point to his work investigating tax avoidance strategies such as offshore tax havens. Levin said to expect more of that in 2014, calling identifying unjustified tax loopholes his second priority.
But Kaufman doubted Levin and the other chairmen retiring this year might get the customary chance for legacy legislation. It is unfortunate that, with the makeup of the senate and especially the attitude of a number of the new senators, I do not believe that will be happening in this Congress, Kaufman said.
Still, no one should be too surprised to see a Carl Levin National Defense Authorization Act emerge by years end.
(Cackle)......Dems plumb forgot their "legacy legislation"?
Signature healthcare---laughingly called Obamacare---passed by an historic lock-stepping straight party-line vote.
And now they don't even mention it. ROTFL.
"Those Democrats leering over my shoulder owe me bigtime. This
healthcare bill insures we have a permanent Democratic majority."
" All except those Tea Party types, swallowed hook, line and sinker my promises that they could:
(1) keep their existing health plans,
(2) keep their own doctors that they like,
(3) keep their 25-year-olds on the family health plan,
(4) never be denied coverage for a pre-existing condition,
(5) sign up instantly on my tech-savvy government Web site,
(6) buy insurance only after becoming seriously ill."
(7) save $2,500 in annual premiums in the bargain....
(8) All without any new taxes."
"Them sonovagun Tea Partiers will rue the day they criticized my wonderful bill."
I’m glad to see that Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin (KARL LENIN) is quiting.
Exactly, never an Iowan, he was in this for himself alone.
Made millions by being senator for a state he did not live in.
Rather, he lived in the Bahamas.
If we don’t stop amnesty, none of this will matter.
Let's call it like it is, they are the Old Cows. That would make female freshman democrat senators The Heifers.
They are making laws, not running a company. The process is supposed to be different every time.
In any event, all the institutional memory a new Senator could ever want can be found in a good biography of Boss Tweed. :)