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   Reid's Specter deal stirs senior Dems' anger

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4/30/2009 7:00 pm

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Entered 4/30/2009, Updated 4/30/2009

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) deal to allow Sen. Arlen Specter to retain his seniority after he switches to the Democratic Conference has not been received well by senior senators in the party. Several Democrats are furious with Reid for agreeing to let Specter (Pa.) keep the seniority accrued over more than 28 years as a Republican senator. That could allow him to leap past senior Democrats on powerful panels — including the Appropriations and Judiciary committees. "I won't be happy if I don't get to chair something because of Arlen Specter," said Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), who sits on the Appropriations Committee with Specter and is fifth in seniority among Democrats behind Chairman Daniel Inouye (Hawaii), Sens. Robert Byrd (W.Va.), Patrick Leahy (Vt.) and Tom Harkin (Iowa). "I'm happy with the Democratic order but I don't want to be displaced because of Arlen Specter," she said.


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