Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

New Deal: Specter Gets a Subcommittee Chairmanship

By Shailagh Murray
Senate Democratic leaders have reached agreement with Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.) 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."

By Ben Pershing  |  May 7, 2009; 10:46 AM ET
Categories:  Dem. Leaders , Senate  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Today on the Hill
Next: CIA Says Pelosi Was Briefed on Use of 'Enhanced Interrogations'

Comments

Very dangerous. Specter is highly untrustworthy. There is nothing more important than ending the War on the Citizenry in the name of drugs--without an end to the war on cannabis users in particular, 800,000 of who are arrested every year there can be no restoration of freedom in the US. We are very far down the road to a militaristic police state, and the War on Drugs is the key domestic component. RESTORE CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT. END THE DRUG WAR.

Posted by: scientist1 | May 7, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

This seems to be a reasonable compromise. Don't get me wrong, Specter had little bargaining power in this situation (since he has no long-term future as a Republican from PA), so it is understandable that Dems would want to hold firm on granting too many perks for switching. That said, the Dems did offer Specter some promises of committee seniority and it is appropriate that the honor those promises.

Posted by: donmarlais | May 7, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Arlen going, then coming
seniority eternal.
A sick squirrel falls dead.

Posted by: Hawaiiexpat | May 7, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

This is grotesque. What use do the Democrats have for this repellent, disloyal, self-seeking political gargoyle who will no doubt vote with the Republicans anyway? This party-switch episode is one of the ugliest things I've seen in DC since-- well, OK, since last month or so -- but both Specter and the Dems are coming out of this with mud all over them. Don't give Senator Wattles anything -- he has nothing to offer!

Posted by: SqueakyRat | May 7, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Yell in vents
The intelligence
That my skeleton's between doors
In the vestibule
All my best to you and yours

Posted by: fuquafalcon | May 7, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

ha ha Arlen can't find any love from the Repubs or the Dems. It's painful when you straddle a barbed-wire fence!!

This just in... "Rep. Joe Sestak, a former Navy vice admiral, says he's seriously considering challenging newest Democrat Arlen Specter in next year's Pennsylvania Senate primary." Woot Woot!!

Posted by: Phil6 | May 7, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse


SCREAM!

Ask yourselves a question! Why did Jewish senators break party ranks and ALL ban together to SHOVE MUKASEY IN AS AG WHEN THE REST OF THE SENATE WAS GOING TO VOTE HIM DOWN...HIS TORTURE ANSWERS, ETC.

More horrendous...why did Schumer of NY, a DEMOCRAT choose and push a Democratic AG candidate in the all republican Bush administration?

To hide horrendously important things that WERE just about to come to light here.
Having to do with Israel and Israel firsters.


And now the vile Specter sits on that Justice spot. AIPAC won. American lost.

...and we'll never get the truth. Mukasey has doctored the pertinent documents, sent them back...

FOR THE PERPS TO EDIT FOR GOD'S SAKE.

Specter will jettison the rest.

We'll never get the truth about ANYTHING.
This country is in trouble and there's no
way to get out, apparently.

And, also, Jane Harmon will skip.


Posted by: whistling | May 7, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Excellent move. Spector is a good man with experience and well-spoken. And he did just deliver a good kick to the Republican cajones. For that alone he deserve a chairmanship.

Posted by: jrw1 | May 7, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

UGH. What idiots.

Posted by: solsticebelle | May 7, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Specter and Lieberman belong to the same party of self interest and special interests.
The self interest is to be re-elected and collect their perks and the special interest is to collect donations for the elections.

Posted by: Dart1 | May 7, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Many angry words!
For greater thoughtfulness,
make all posts haiku.

Posted by: jlm101514 | May 7, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Specter and the rest of the "Dummycrats" are a disgrace. Hope Specter goes down in a blaze of unglory. He deserves nothing less than total annilation.

Posted by: marine2211 | May 7, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Lets see, at 75 or 76, I can't see much of a future at even being at room temperature for this old goat!

Posted by: texasgoat | May 7, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

For sure, there's a spectre haunting the Capitol......

Posted by: HassanAliAl-Hadoodi | May 7, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: texasgoat | May 7, 2009 12:40 PM
" Specter and the rest of the "Dummycrats" are a disgrace. Hope Specter goes down in a blaze of unglory. He deserves nothing less than total annilation. "

RESPOND
HI, HOW YOU DOIN' LOOSER? HOW DOES IT FEEL EATING CRUMBS OF THE FLOOR AFTER 8 YEARS OF KILLINGS.
WHAT ARE YOU GETTING ALL HYPED UP FOR? HERE'S THE THING THAT SUCKS; YOUR FATHER, RUSH LIMBAUGH JUST TALKED 4 HOURS YESTERDAY FOR NOTHING. BUT DON'T BE LIKE HIM REALLY, TALKING FOR NOTHING, JUST VOTE DEMOCRAT NEXT TIME AND END THE BUSH LEGACY QUICKER FOR ALL OF US. OTHERWISE, YOU AND THE REST OF CRAPUBLICANS DESERVE MORE "ANNILATION" THAN IN RECENT WEEKS, AND ODN'T THINK IT WONT COME. TEXAS LOOSER, JUST LIKE BUSH AND HIS FAMILY.

Posted by: BOBSTERII | May 7, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

WHAT AN ABSOLUTE GOAT ROPING! Hope that Spector now understands the old saying, "There is no loyalty among thieves!"

Posted by: wheeljc | May 7, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

I'd put Specter on the Supreme Court. Thereby he would get the limelight he likes, it would take away the Senate's embarrassments about his political changes, and it would leave the Pennsylvania race more interesting.

Posted by: ravitchn | May 7, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse


Very dangerous. Specter is highly untrustworthy. There is nothing more important than ending the War on the Citizenry in the name of drugs--without an end to the war on cannabis users in particular, 800,000 of who are arrested every year there can be no restoration of freedom in the US. We are very far down the road to a militaristic police state, and the War on Drugs is the key domestic component. RESTORE CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT. END THE DRUG WAR.

Posted by: scientist1 | May 7, 2009 11:33 AM

********************************************
potscientist,

By your logic we should end the war on traffic violations, as well. After all, millions of tickets are written every year for speeding alone and yet three-quarters of all drivers admit to exceeding the speed limit at least occasionally. Why are we wasting all of this time and money? We are on the road to becoming a militaristic police state! Restore Constitutional freedom! Repeal all traffic laws!

Posted by: hisroc | May 7, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse


How HARD do you think the jewish lobby had to scream, how much to pay, to get

Specter jurisdiction over JUSTICE activieis?

My god, who let it happen? Why the selling out of America?

If Gonzalez and the vile Mukasey didn't get everything hidden re the war and torture and God knows what else, including staffing DOJ with their ilk..

Specter can help stomp out the truth or refuse to let ie come out.

How on earth did we ever get Libby prosecuted? It was a miracle, and even thing nothing of the truth came out and he was pardoned. Don't worry, no more truth will get close.

Posted by: whistling | May 7, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

If nothing else, this change of position on the part of the Dem leadership in the Senate proves that the party operatives want Specter to be re-elected next year. Not having any clout in the senate would have made his re-election bid much, much harder. Giving him a subcommittee chair shows that they are not completely convinced of Specter's loyalty, but know that he is their man for 2010. Watch the Dem field clear out by December with all stragglers being marginalized by the party.

Posted by: joehorn | May 7, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

This is grotesque. What use do the Democrats have for this repellent, disloyal, self-seeking political gargoyle who will no doubt vote with the Republicans anyway? This party-switch episode is one of the ugliest things I've seen in DC since-- well, OK, since last month or so -- but both Specter and the Dems are coming out of this with mud all over them. Don't give Senator Wattles anything -- he has nothing to offer!

Posted by: SqueakyRat
********************************************************
Were you equally disgusted when the ten or so Democrats switched parties to become Republicans? I doubt it.

Posted by: lgaide | May 7, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

feral Arlen
only taking care of his
ugly politics

Posted by: shrink2 | May 7, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

That's gotta please the proud porchers of Pennsylvania. lol. Would Arlen did in losing his seniority was a crime. The guy must've been on drugs. Hence, the new assignment is perfect. He's an expert, after all. ;-)

Posted by: JoeMcD | May 7, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

It's just like the Dems to find a chairmanship after denying a chairmanship after "never promising" a chairmanship to the Sen who was a Dem before he was a Repub before he was a Dem.

And isn't there something downright (disgustingly) poetic about the chairmanship they suddenly found for him on a justice subcommittee because this newest Dem is to justice as slime is to purity.

Posted by: jayjay9 | May 7, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

That's a good start.

Specter doesn't have a helluva a lot to gain by any of this--certainly not money, power, or prestige. His one gain is to serve the USA and share his expertise, knowledge, and talents to help your children and grandchildren have a better life.

The only way we, the American people, can gain by this treasure (by that, I mean Senator Specter) is for him to be re-elected. And it is important that he be re-elected and that he serve in a useful manner.

I'd rather see him leading in Appropriations or Judiciary, but I'm sure he understnads the bad feelings that could be caused by jumping over the other Democrat Senators -- who have been his friendly opposition for decades.

Specter's background as District Attorney of Philadelphia, and his lifelong expertise with the Criminal Justice System makes him and ideal candidate for this position.

Coming up with solutions is what our Legislators are supposed to do--so, after reneging on the deal, it's good to see the Leadership rethought the situation and worked on being part of the solution instead creating problems.

I sure am glad Arlen is out of that den of tigers, er, vituperative republicans, back with people who think and have brains, and are wiiling to change their minds to find the appropriate solution.

Posted by: moorpheus | May 7, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

give the baby back his gavel shaped gavel so he won't throw a fit.

Posted by: maricopajoe | May 7, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

I would hope that the voter in PA see that Specter does not get reelected. This egomaniac has to go ASAP. It infuriates me that the Dems are falling all over themselves to accommodate this dinosaur.

Posted by: MsMarTampa | May 7, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Situation FUBARlen.

Posted by: ii00 | May 7, 2009 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Specter is devoid of character, falls into the category of a scumbag. May his time in the US Senate be short and ......

Posted by: OleGunny | May 7, 2009 7:59 PM | Report abuse

KNOW THIS
I'M INDEPENDENT
POWER CORRUPTS
UNELECT INCUMBENTS

Posted by: siano1 | May 7, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Just a question for the party higher ups....

What assurance can you provide that if Specter is elected as a democrat next year that he will not immediately announce that the Democratic Party is too liberal for him and that he is returning to the party he is more in synch with...the "national" Republican party? Specter's views are not even close to that of a middle of the road democrat. He has spent his entire political career as a Republican. His only problem with Republicans is with Republicans in his own state...not the national brand. He has spent at least the last 8 years pushing one Bush program or judge after another. Why is the party going to trust him now?

Posted by: CalifObserver | May 7, 2009 10:39 PM | Report abuse

So Specter stomped his feet and held his breath and the Dumocrats caved..
Leadership = The one ship that has sailed from the left side of the bed....

Posted by: TexRancher | May 8, 2009 7:24 AM | Report abuse

O the outrage: Arlen Specter the rat was fooled by Harry Reid the bigger rat. Just a typical day of treachery in the U.S. Senate.

Reid just wanted another (D) in the Senate , and for 2010 Reid probably prefers that seat to be won by a young Democrat not an old RINO. What is Specter going to do? Change his mind and return to the GOP? I think not.


Posted by: bugaboo1 | May 8, 2009 7:26 AM | Report abuse

There is nothing in the Constitution about seniority. Why should anyone have more seniority than anyone else when the Constitution calls for two senators from each state, and the idea was to have senators with equal status to represent the states......one more ideal shot down in the name of power consolidation.

How about changing the rules so that ANY senator my state chooses has EQUAL power to function in the Senate.....it would also be a good idea to look at the House of Representatives and apply the same Constitutional prerogative there.

The old "You have to learn how to get things done" quote is totally out of place.

Posted by: Tawodi | May 8, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

As to the legalize marijuana argument: It is as valid as having legalized liquor and tobacco, but would the 800,000 idiots be willing to pay a tax to offset its cost to society? I doubt it! Too bad, John Rolfe did haul marijuana to England instead of tobacco.......

Posted by: Tawodi | May 8, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Arlen Spector is the absolute worst or maybe the best example of any politican that has self served himself and himself only in Washington in many decades. He even referred to his legacy that he was protecting when he made his run to supposed safety into the trusting arms of the Democrats. What does this broken old dinosaur think he is leaving us with. Not much to remember for sure.
I stop contributing several years ago to the Republican PAC,s because of him and others like him. I didn't want my money to elect a little pig like him that has grunted around and in the Washington "slopping zone" for the last 28 or so years. He can now learn some real down and dirty,filthy politics from the Chicago Boys, the real liars and remover of our rights. Good riddance to a load of slime!!!

Posted by: loubosse | May 8, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Chairman Specter,

America already has enough crime, without drug crime. Please work to repeal the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. You will be able to shorten your subcommittee name to ‘…on Crime.’ Senator Webb can vouch that prohibition made Al Capone, not vice-versa. Now we need smaller, more frugal government. I do not know why we need the DEA.

God did not screw up when He created psychoactive seed-bearing plants on the second day and beheld they were good. It was also God who put sensitive receptors for the taboo substances into humanity’s plumbing and wiring. In the words of Clifton Ingram of Asheville NC, “God’s gifts should be celebrated, not used as a cause to arrest folks.” The sooner we can stop this civil war on drugs, and on the double-digit-demographic of psychoactive-substance users, the sooner we can have liberty and justice for all, and peace on the home front.

If an American hippy is growing pot in his backyard, he is accomplishing actual demand-reduction for Mexican schwag. He stays out of prohibition’s black market, and helps his friends do the same. Instead of logically receiving honor for service in the public interest, let’s suppose he gets busted. The costs - for the time of the arresting officer, prosecutor, clerks, evidence storage, judge, jury, public defender, prison guards, and probation officers - are all at taxpayer expense. And a convicted felon earns less, spends less to stimulate the economy, and pays less tax down the road. Why would the elected minders of the already bankrupt public coffers aggressively incur voluntary new expenses unabated, at the same time reducing future funding?

Why can’t the synthetic psychoactive substances be regulated by physician’s prescription, to assure purity and dosage? The doctor can check if the patient knows all of the possible effects, and record the patient’s intended set and setting. The doctor can provide harm-reduction counseling. The doctor can obtain signatures not to drive, not to hurt one’s self, or others, while medicated. Availability of natural products such as tobacco and marijuana may be subject to age-controls.

Thank you for your consideration.

Posted by: harris512 | May 8, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company