Senate Banking Committee Leadership up for Grabs with Johnson’s Expected Retirement (March 26, 2013)
The decision by Senate Banking Committee chairman Tim Johnson, (D-S.D.), to retire next year opens a race for another Senate seat and simultaneously puts leadership of the influential banking committee into play. Sen. Johnson, 66, today announced that he will not run again when his current term ends in 2014, leaving a vacant seat that likely will be hotly contested and creating an opening for a new banking committee leader. Johnson, a three-term veteran who survived a 2006 brain hemorrhage, is viewed as a measured and somewhat moderate operator. As Banking Committee chair since 2011, Johnson pushed for bipartisan agreement in shaping banking legislation and has unwaveringly supported President Obama on financial reform while opposing any changes in the Dodd-Frank Act. Johnson was one of 12 senators chosen to reconcile the Senate and House versions of legislation that led to the Dodd-Frank Act, which became law in 2010.
Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) is next in line to head the committee based on seniority, but some reports suggest he has other interests, including leading the Senate Armed Services Committee. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is next in seniority on the banking committee, followed by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). Brown has demonstrated a passion for financial reform, pushing to break up the nation’s biggest banks and demonstrating strong support for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Schumer has previously pushed to beef up fraud protection for gift cards. Apart from the question of who will lead the Senate Banking Committee, political watchers say competition to pick up the vacant Senate seat will be fierce, as Republicans work to win enough seats—at least six—to regain control of the Senate.