Shakeups on the Senate Banking Committee

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Last week’s surprise announcement by Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN) that he will not seek reelection is yet another shift in the future make-up of the Senate Banking Committee. Bayh’s retirement comes only two months after the Committee’s Chairman, Senator Chris Dodd announced he would not seek reelection.

In addition to the vacancies of both Bayh and Dodd’s seats on the committee, more turnover is expected in the committee’s membership. Senator Jim Bunning, an outspoken critic of the Federal Reserve, is also retiring, and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) is facing a primary race in her bid for the Governorship of TX.

Politico notes that the turnover of approximately one third of the Banking Committee will provide significant opportunities for new Committee members to fill the vacuum left by these retirements: “Mark Warner (D-VA) has been increasingly visible on the committee, and Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) has agreed to negotiate with Dodd on the financial reform package. When you have this kind of turmoil, it allows for guys like Corker to have such important positions.”

Furthermore with banking reform legislation moving through the committee this year, the retirements of Dodd, Bayh, Bunning and potentially Hutchison provide an opportunity for new members to take a leadership role in crafting and negotiating the legislation tackling controversial issues such as executive compensation, resolution authority to wind down a failing institution, the CFA, regulation of systemic risk, and derivatives reform.

By the e21 Team at Economic Policies for the 21st Century