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Warren Looks Set for Senate Banking Committee Seat

Elizabeth Warren election night 2012.

The prospects for Elizabeth Warren nabbing a spot on the Senate Banking Committee brightened in recent days.

First, let’s take a look at the Banking Committee membership. With a 55-45 partisan split in the Senate rather than 53-47, I wouldn’t expect the partisan makeup on the committee to change all that much. Right now there are 22 members, 12 Democrats and 10 Republicans. Two members who currently serve on the Democratic side, Herb Kohl and Daniel Akaka, are moving on. So that opens up two spots for either freshman members or other members of the caucus who have seniority and longed for a Banking Committee spot.

You would think that Kirsten Gillibrand, representing New York, would be in the latter category, representing Wall Street and all. However, she officially declined the position, seemingly in favor of Warren, today.

A spokesman in Gillibrand’s office confirmed a report in Capitol New York on Monday that the junior senator from New York would not seek a spot on the committee. Multiple news outlets had previously speculated that Gillibrand could seek a spot on the panel, adding to the list of contenders Warren might have to face for a spot on the committee.

Chris Coons of the banking-friendly state of Delaware is another contender. But there are two open spots. And it’s really no contest between any of the incoming members and Warren as to who deserves the Banking Committee slot. Perhaps Chris Murphy, from another bank-friendly state, Connecticut, would be an option. But you have to think this is Warren’s slot if she wants it.

In addition, progressive groups are already mounting an effort to ensure Warren’s presence on the committee. Daily Kos and others have sent petitions to their lists urging Harry Reid, who ultimately holds the final decision, to put Warren on the committee.

Kitty Seeyle at the New York Times has a catty profile of Warren highlighting a post-Senate press conference where she was a little brusque. Expect lots and lots of ticky-tack stories like this against Warren, most of them planted by Wall Street. Hopefully she will get the committee assignment to make them squirm.

Photo by WBUR under Creative Commons license.

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David Dayen

David Dayen