Could Dodd be leaving the Banking Committee?

  Today at 2PM east coast time the office of the Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd schedule a news conference.  There is speculation that Dodd and the Banking Committee may part ways.

  

The Connecticut Democrat’s personal office (not the Senate Banking Committee) issued a statement Wednesday saying he would hold a press conference to “discuss his priorities for the 111th Congress.” The release noted that in addition to leading the banking panel he is a senior member of the Foreign Relations Committee and the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.

 

Many of the Capital Hill Aides figure that Dodd might make a play for the gavel in the Foreign Relations Committee, now that Sen. Joe Biden, the vice-president-elect, is leaving. If Dodd passes on the Foreign Relations chairmanship, it would fall to Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts

If Dodd leaves the Banking Committee, Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota, is the second-highest Democrat. Johnson, who was re-elected by a comfortable margin Tuesday, would normally step in without any questions. But he’s still recovering from a near-fatal brain hemorrhage in late 2006, and there could be some questions about his ability to run the committee at a time when the financial markets crisis is front and center.

Johnson’s campaign addressed the succession issue in a news release last week that quoted a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as saying: “Sen. Johnson would be chairman of the committee” if Dodd were to depart.

Dodd’s office won’t say what he might announce this afternoon – though he is expected to announce something – and there are conflicting rumors about what he might do.

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