US Sen Dodd to remain banking panel chairman – aide
WASHINGTON, Sept 9 (Reuters) – U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd will remain chairman of the Senate Banking Committee and not take over the health committee after the death of his friend, Senator Edward Kennedy, a Senate aide said on Wednesday.
By staying at banking, Dodd will prevent potential further delays in an already bogged-down push by Democrats to tighten regulation of banks and capital markets in response to the 2008-2009 financial crisis, the worst in decades.
Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat, will hold a news conference on Wednesday to announce his decision, said two banking industry lobbyists who asked not to be identified.
A spokeswoman for Dodd could not be reached for comment, but had said on Tuesday the senator would make a decision shortly.
His decision not to replace Kennedy as health committee chairman clears the way for Democratic Senator Tom Harkin, who currently chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee. If Harkin left that panel, a number of senators could succeed him.
Harkin and Dodd have both been deeply involved in recent weeks in the high-profile healthcare reform debate, assuming the burdens of the health panel chairmanship as Kennedy struggled against cancer. He died last month.
Dodd underwent successful surgery for early-stage prostate cancer in August and is recovering well. He faces a difficult reelection campaign in 2010 in Connecticut.