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December 9, 2008

Here’s the dish on the new committee leadership

Trusted sources have confirmed that Senator John Rockefeller will step down from his chairmanship of the Select Intelligence Committee to assume the all powerful post of Commerce Committee chair. The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation is the counterpart of Energy and Commerce in the House and deals with issues pertaining to interstate commerce, transportation, science and technology, and consumer products regulation among others.
California Senator Diane Feinstein will take over as chair of Select Intelligence, which is charged with overseeing US intelligence agencies and assuring that they provide the executive and the legislative branch the accurate and timely information it needs to make critical national security decisions. The fifteen member committee receives regular intelligence briefings that other members are not privy to and holds closed hearings on sensitive national security issues.
In the last few months there had been rumors that Feinstein would step down from the Senate and run for governor of California if the Dems were unable to get to the coveted 60 senate seats necessary to beat a Republican filibuster. It would be an interesting move on her part, given her age (she’d be 77 when she ran) and the fact that she would have to abandon her position of considerable influence and power as the senior senator from the nation’s largest state. At the same time, it would not be entirely uncharacteristic. Feinstein has demonstrated a propensity to make bold, principled moves when the time is right and the need is great.
Senator John Kerry is a shoe-in to take VP-Elect Joe Biden’s place as Foreign Relations chair, which posits outspoken Iraq war critic Russ Feingold (D-WI) as ranking Democratic member. Rumor has it that Bill Nelson is positioning for the chair of the Middle East Sub-Committee in the event that Kerry gives it up.

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