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Reed says He Expects Banking Committee Post to Go to Johnson

From the ProJo:

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Christopher J. Dodd's decision to retire may reopen speculation about the possibility that Sen. Jack Reed could replace him next year as Senate Banking Committee chairman.

But Rhode Island Democrat Reed said Wednesday that he expects the job to go to Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota -- the Democrat who stands ahead of him in seniority and first in line for the chair.

Johnson's office was quick to dismiss any concern that his health problems might affect his ability or desire to run the committee. Johnson "is up to the job and willing to take it,'' said his communications director, Julianne Fisher. Johnson has had a long recovery after suffering a brain hemorrhage in 2006 and still frequently uses a wheelchair.

"I don't think his health issues will prevent him from becoming chairman,'' said Norman Ornstein, a scholar on congressional issues at the American Enterprise Institute. He said Johnson's health is a matter of ``great delicacy'' for Senate Democrats, who faced it for a time last summer when Connecticut Democrat Dodd considered giving up the banking position in order to take the gavel at the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. That chair had become vacant upon Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's death...

Now that Dodd has announced plans to retire at the end of this Congress, Reed said, ``Senator Johnson is next in line and I assume he will move up to the chairmanship.'' Reed also said he thinks that Dodd's decision not to run for reelection may improve the already-strong prospects that the committee will act on bipartisan legislation to overhaul the regulation of the financial industry.

 

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