New Deal: Specter Gets a Subcommittee Chairmanship
By Shailagh Murray
Senate Democratic leaders have reached agreement with Sen. Arlen Specter to partially restore the party switcher's status on the Judiciary Committee, by granting Specter the chairmanship of the Crime and Drugs Subcommittee.
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.
Specter would not regain his seniority on the committee, at least until after the 2010 election, aides said, but they said he is pleased with the outcome. Senate Democrats readily endorsed the proposal, aides said. As one Democratic staffer put it, "What we don't want is an angry former Republican during a Supreme Court hearing."
Posted at 10:16 AM ET on May 7, 2009
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