Despite promises from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) that Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.) would retain his seniority after switching parties, Specter will be put at the end of the seniority line on all his committees but one under a resolution approved on the floor late Tuesday.
Under the modified organizing resolution, Specter will not keep his committee seniority on any of the five committees that he serves on and will be the junior Democrat on all but one the chambers Special Committee on Aging. On that committee, he will be next to last in seniority.
As a result, Specter who as a Republican was ranking member on the Judiciary Committee and a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, as well as ranking member of the panels Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education will now rank behind all the other Democrats, at least until the end of this Congress.
According to a senior Democratic aide, it remains unclear whether Specter who will still retain his seniority in the Senate outside of the committees will see a boost in his committee seniority should he be re-elected for the next session. The status of his seniority for the next Congress will be determined once the 112th Congress convenes in 2011, the aide said.
Democrats said that while unrelated, Specters comments to the New York Times Magazine this weekend indicating he would support former Sen. Norm Colemans (R-Minn.) disputed re-election bid against Al Franken have angered many Democrats.
Sen. Specter better watch comments like these. They wont help him in the caucus, a Democratic leadership aide said, adding that the comments have caused a lot of heartburn in the caucus.
David Drucker and Emily Pierce contributed to this report.