Kirk Gets Committee Assignments
Newly installed Sen. Paul Kirk (D-Mass.) will not take his old boss Sen. Edward Kennedy’s (D-Mass.) spot on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, but Senate Democrats did appoint Kirk to two other panels Tuesday.Instead, freshman Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) will assume a seat on the HELP panel, while Kirk will sit on the Armed Services and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs panels.Kirk was appointed last week to replace Kennedy, who died of brain cancer in August. Kirk served as a top Kennedy aide in the 1970s and as chairman of the Democratic National Committee in the 1980s, but he has essentially agreed to take the four-month long job as a caretaker. He is not running in the Jan. 19 special election to permanently fill the seat. However, Bennet, who was appointed to replace now-Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, is facing a tough race at home. Bennet brings considerable expertise to the committee, considering he served as superintendent of Denver Public Schools before coming to the Senate.In order to take the spot on HELP, Bennet gave up his seat on the Homeland Security panel.