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Musical Committee Chairs

September 9, 2009 - by Paul Blumenthal

Sen. Chris Dodd has decided to remain as chairman of the Senate Banking Committee rather than take over control of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee chairmanship left vacant by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy.

This decision leaves the HELP Committee chairmanship to Sen. Tom Harkin, who is currently the chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee. Lawmakers are not allowed to chair more than one committee at a time, thus Harkin will have to vacate his post at the Agriculture Committee. Replacing Harkin as Agriculture chairman is Sen. Blanche Lincoln.

Dodd’s retention of the Banking Committee gavel comes as some groups had questioned the ability of Dodd’s potential successor at the committee, Sen. Tim Johnson, to take charge of the legislative fight to pass sweeping financial regulations. Johnson’s state of South Dakota is home to many credit and finance companies seeking to avoid the regulation of other states. He is the only Democratic senator to consistently vote in the favor of credit and financial companies during the 111th Congress.

Dodd will announce his decision at an 11 a.m. news conference today.

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