The leadership of the House has remained officially neutral in the presidential race, but most of the chairmen and chairwomen have expressed a preference. Some of these chairpersons wield more power than others, but collectively they are a good measure of how the power in the House was divided. Clinton clearly benefited from the fact that the New York delegation fell in line, while no Illinois Democrats hold any chairs.

Agriculture– Colin Peterson (D-MN)- Undeclared
Appropriations– David Obey (D-WI)- Obama
Armed Services– Ike Skelton (D-MO)- Clinton
Budget– Jack Spratt (D-SC)- Undeclared, but told Clinton on Wednesday that the could not endorse her.
Education– George Miller (D-CA)- Obama
Energy Independence and Global Warming– Edward Markey (D-MA)- Undeclared
Energy and Commerce– John Dingell (D-MI)- Clinton (currently ineligible to vote)
Ethics– Stephanie Tubbs-Jones (D-OH)- Clinton
Financial Services– Barney Frank (D-MA)- Clinton
Foreign Affairs– Howard Berman (D-CA)- Undeclared
Homeland Security– Bennie Thompson (D-MS)- Obama

House Administration– Bob Brady (D-PA)- Undeclared, but has said he will vote his district, and his district voted for Obama
Intelligence– Silvestre Reyes (D-TX)- Clinton
Judiciary– John Conyers (D-MI)- Obama (currently ineligible to vote)
Natural Resources– Nick Rahall (D-WV)- Obama
Oversight and Government Reform– Henry Waxman (D-CA)- Undeclared
Rules– Louise Slaughter (D-NY)- Clinton
Science– Bart Gordon (D-TN)- Undeclared
Small Business– Nydia Velazquez (D-NY)- Clinton
Transportation– James Oberstar (D-MN)- Obama
Veterans’ Affairs– Bob Filner (D-CA)- Undeclared
Ways and Means– Charlie Rangel (D-NY)- Clinton

That breaks down to 8 chairs for Clinton, 8 chairs undeclared, and 7 chairs for Obama. The most powerful chair is Appropriations, where Obama has an ally in David Obey. But Clinton has an advantage with the next three most powerful chairs: Armed Services (Skelton), Ways & Means (Rangel), and Finance (Franks). It’s basically a wash. Yet, a look at the leadership throws the balance to Obama. There is no doubt that Speaker Pelosi and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn favor Obama. Senior Chief Deputy Whip John Lewis flipped his endorsement from Clinton to Obama. Majority Leader Steny Hoyer is impossible to read, and Democratic Caucus Chair Rahm Emanuel has remained completely neutral but admitted yesterday that Obama is the presumptive nominee. There is a modest pro-Obama tilt in the House.

The Senate is a totally different story. Senators have worked with both Obama and Clinton for years and they know them well. Endorsing one over the other is not an attractive prospect because they don’t want to alienate the eventual president and they don’t want to have to go to work every day with someone that is harboring resentment because they endorsed their opponent. Nevertheless, most of the senators have made an endorsement, and most of them chose Obama. This trend is even more pronounced among the chairpersons.

Aging– Herb Kohl (D-WI)- Undeclared
Agriculture– Tom Harkin (D-IA)- Undeclared
Appropriations– Robert Byrd (D-WV)- Undeclared
Armed Services– Carl Levin (D-MI)- Undeclared (currently ineligible to vote)
Banking– Chris Dodd- Obama
Budget– Kent Conrad (D-ND)- Obama
Commerce– Daniel Inouye (D-HI)- Clinton
Energy– Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)- Obama
Environment– Barbara Boxer (D-CA)- Clinton
Finance– Max Baucus (D-MT)- Undeclared
Foreign Relations– Joe Biden (D-DE)- Undeclared
Health, Education, Labor & Pensions– Edward Kennedy (D-MA)- Obama
Homeland Security & Govern. Affairs– Joe Lieberman (I-CT)- Ineligible to vote, endorsed McCain
Indian Affairs– Byron Dorgan- Obama
Intelligence– Jay Rockefeller (D-WV)- Obama
Judiciary– Patrick Leahy (D-VT)- Obama
Rules– Diane Feinstein (D-CA)- Clinton
Small Business– John Kerry (D-MA)- Obama
Veterans’ Affairs– Daniel Akaka- Undeclared

Eight out of nineteen chairs have endorsed Obama, while only three have endorsed Clinton (Boxer, Feinstein, and Inouye). The remainder remained neutral, except Lieberman who endorsed McCain. Majority Leader Harry Reid has remained neutral, but Majority Whip Dick Durbin has endorsed Obama.

Overall, the leadership of the Senate strongly prefers Obama. What will be interesting to see is how Clinton gets reintegrated back into the Senate. She has no real seniority on any committee, and definitely has little to no support for getting a position in the leadership. Most senators opposed her presidential run and will not want to give her power to exact revenge. I honestly think she will find the workplace too hostile to merit another term.

0 0 votes
Article Rating