Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown has become the ranking Democrat on the Banking Committee, to Wall Street’s dread. But, that’s not all. Bloomberg Politics,
Democrats lost the Senate in November, so the doomsday scenario–Brown as chairman–would not be realized in 2015. Instead, it was one of several examples of the post-election Democratic minority moving to the left. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent and “Democratic socialist” who caucuses with the Democrats, will replace Washington Senator Patty Murray at the Budget table. Over at the Energy Committee, Washington Senator Maria Cantwell will replace defeated Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu. In the waning days of her campaign, Landrieu had warned voters that a supporter of “windmills and alternative energy” might get that job–and so it came to pass…
For progressives, the Cantwell and Sanders moves are even clearer victories. Cantwell’s promotion ends the alliance of interests between Republicans and Democrats who were, typically, from energy-producing states. And for 12 years, including most of the Reid majority’s lifespan, the top Democrat on Budget had been North Dakota Senator Kent Conrad. That meant that a key negotiator for Democrats, with a large megaphone, was a deficit hawk who wanted to deal with moderate Republicans. Murray’s reign on the committee, which led to budget agreements that gave away little to the GOP, was more satisfying for progressives. And she’s been replaced by a man who was so incensed by the winter 2010 tax deal between the Obama White House and the lame duck Congress that he gave an eight-hour floor speech, later published between covers by the progressive Nation Books.
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