Senate Democrats fill leadership jobs
Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) will take on an expanded role in Senate Democratic leadership as the head of a new entity responsible for crafting the party's messaging and rapid-response operations. And a Senate freshman, Sen. Mark Begich (Alaska), will rise to the No. 5 leadership job in the chamber, a major concession to junior Democrats who are seeking a greater voice in Senate decision-making.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) will officially announce the new positions at a Democratic caucus meeting Tuesday. But Schumer's elevated perch is a signal that Democrats intend to become more aggressive in the next Congress in using their majority to highlight policy differences with Republicans. The New York Democrat is known for his combative political style, but tends to be an incrementalist when it comes to policy, favoring measured steps as opposed to broad strokes.
Schumer also will play a major role in helping shape 2012 election strategy for the 23 members of the Democratic caucus who face reelection in two years. His co-chair will be Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), who emerged as a prominent Democratic voice during the health-care debate last year.
The following is a letter Reid sent to his Democratic colleagues Monday afternoon:
Some of you have spent the last few weeks on the campaign trail. Others toured your states, meeting with your constituents. However you spent October, I trust you are returning to the Senate and looking forward to the 112th Congress with the same renewed motivation I'm bringing with me from Nevada. I know you are also bringing with you fresh reminders of how much work we have left to help our economy regain its strength.
I have given serious thought to how our caucus can best address this and the many other challenges our country will face in the next two years and beyond. If I am fortunate enough to serve again as your Leader, one of my first priorities will be to strengthen our strategic operations.
To do so, we must better integrate our legislative- and message-crafting functions into a central, coordinated nucleus managing policy, press and politics. That starts with uniting the Democratic Policy Committee and the Senate Democratic Communications Center into a joint operation. I have asked Senator Schumer, whose communications abilities and tactical skills we all greatly respect, to lead this effort as Chairman of the new office. I have asked Senator Stabenow, whose work leading the Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee has been exemplary, to support Senator Schumer as Vice Chairman. I have also asked Senator Begich to lead the Steering and Outreach Committee.
I look forward to discussing these plans with you during tomorrow's caucus meeting. Whatever changes we make, our charge remains the same: coordinating our caucus as effectively as possible so we can accomplish our number-one responsibility: getting people back to work.
| November 15, 2010; 3:27 PM ET
Categories: 2010 Election, 44 The Obama Presidency, Capitol Briefing, Democratic Party
Save & Share: Previous: Allen West blames racism, misogyny for aide controversy
Next: Kal Penn returns to the White House
Posted by: TexRancher | November 21, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: TexRancher | November 21, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: w32e31 | November 16, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: JustDave6 | November 15, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: F-4Phantom | November 15, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse