I am going to do a little exercise. I am going to show you who the top four members (by seniority) are in the Senate for each and every committee. As you will see, several members are in line to chair more than one committee. No Senator will chair more than one committee, so figuring out who will chair what gets a little complicated. Lieberman provides a little problem, so I will discuss that too. And then there is the problem of so many Senators that are planning on running for President (which will make chairing committees problematic, to say the least). So, go below the fold for the results and my analysis.
Aging

Herbert Kohl- Chairman
Ron Wyden
Blanche Lincoln
Evan Bayh

Agriculture

Tom Harkin- Chairman
Patrick Leahy
Kent Conrad
Max Baucus

Appropriations

Robert Byrd- Chairman
Daniel Inouye
Patrick Leahy
Tom Harkin

Armed Services

Carl Levin- Chairman
Edward Kennedy
Robert Byrd
Joe Lieberman

Banking

Christopher Dodd- Chairman
Tim Johnson
Jack Reed
Charles Schumer

Budget

Kent Conrad- Chairman
Patty Murray
Ron Wyden
Russ Feingold

Commerce

Daniel Inouye- Chairman
Jay Rockefeller
John Kerry
Byron Dorgan

Energy

Jeff Bingaman- Chairman
Daniel Akaka
Byron Dorgan
Ron Wyden

Environment

Max Baucus (chair of Finance)
Joe Lieberman (chair of Homeland Security)
Barbara Boxer- Chairwoman
Tom Carper

Ethics

Tim Johnson- Co-Chairman
Mark Pryor
Ken Salazar

Finance

Max Baucus- Chairman
Jay Rockefeller
Kent Conrad
Jeff Bingaman

Foreign Relations

Joe Biden- Chairman
Christopher Dodd
John Kerry
Russ Feingold

Health, Education, Labor & Pensions

Edward Kennedy- Chairman
Christopher Dodd
Tom Harkin
Barbara Mikulski

Homeland Security & Government Affairs

Joe Lieberman- Chairman
Carl Levin
Daniel Akaka
Tom Carper

Indian Affairs

Byron Dorgan- Chairman
Daniel Inouye
Kent Conrad
Daniel Akaka

Intelligence

Jay Rockefeller- Chairman
Carl Levin
Diane Feinstein
Ron Wyden

Judiciary

Patrick Leahy- Chairman
Edward Kennedy
Joe Biden
Herbert Kohl

Rules

Christopher Dodd (chair of Banking)
Robert Byrd (chair of Appropriations)
Daniel Inouye (chair of Commerce)
Diane Feinstein- Chairwoman

Small Business

John Kerry- Chairman
Tom Harkin
Joe Lieberman
Mary Landrieu

Veteran’s Affairs

Daniel Akaka- Chairman
Jay Rockefeller
Patty Murray
Barack Obama

Now, on Lieberman:

We don’t really mind Lieberman chairing a committee on Homeland Security. The problem is that the committee is also in charge of Governmental Affairs. It’s the equivalent of the Government Reform committee in the House and it should be investigating things like war profiteering. We really don’t want Joe to be chairing that committee. Yet, we can’t antagonize him too much or he might bolt the party and turn our 51-49 majority into a 50-50 split, with ties broken by the Vice-President. So, here is what I suggest doing.

Respect Joe’s seniority. But offer him the chairmanship of the Environment committee. Joe is in line to chair that committee anyway because Max Baucus would much rather chair the Finance Committee. If Joe accepts this, who would be in line for the Homeland Security chair? Well, that would be Carl Levin, but he will want to chair Armed Services. Next in line is Daniel Akaka. He is in line to chair Veteran’s Affairs, but he would much rather have Homeland Security.

Okay, you ask, but then who would be in line to chair Veteran’s Affairs? The answer is Jay Rockefeller. But he would rather have Intelligence. That leaves it to Patty Murray. So, this is how I envision the committee chairs looking in the Senate:

    Aging: Herbert Kohl- Chairman
    Agriculture:Tom Harkin- Chairman
    Appropriations: Robert Byrd- Chairman
    Armed Services: Carl Levin- Chairman
    Banking: Christopher Dodd- Chairman
    Budget: Kent Conrad- Chairman
    Commerce: Daniel Inouye- Chairman
    Energy: Jeff Bingaman- Chairman
    Environment: Joe Lieberman- Chairman
    Ethics: Tim Johnson- Co-Chairman
    Finance: Max Baucus- Chairman
    Foreign Relations: Joe Biden- Chairman
    Health, Education, Labor & Pensions: Edward Kennedy- Chairman
    Homeland Security & Government Affairs: Daniel Akaka- Chairman
    Indian Affairs: Byron Dorgan- Chairman
    Intelligence: Jay Rockefeller- Chairman
    Judiciary: Patrick Leahy- Chairman
    Rules: Diane Feinstein- Chairwoman
    Small Business: John Kerry- Chairman
    Veteran’s Affairs: Patty Murray- Chairwoman

We have a number of new Senators: Brown, Cardin, Casey, Klobuchar, McCaskill, Sanders, Tester, Webb, and Whitehouse. I’d like to see Klobuchar on Judiciary. Other than that, I’m open to suggestions on where other members should be assigned.

How many of the committee chairs are running for President? Three. And that might effect assignments. Here’s the list:

Dodd: Banking
Biden: Foreign Relations
Kerry: Small Business

What say you?

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