Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is looking at changes to how his leadership team is structured, including eliminating the position of assistant leader and creating a new role of deputy conference secretary while promoting Democrat Sens. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.
The plans come as Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., is planning to leave the No. 3 spot in the leadership hierarchy, reports Politico, quoting two Democrat aides familiar with the plans and a copy of the proposal, which it obtained Wednesday.
Murray will be chairing the Appropriations Committee and become Senate pro tempore, putting her in the line of presidential succession.
According to the lineup, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., will be the majority whip, with Schumer proposing that the next position be that of the chairperson of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, currently held by Stabenow. The next position will be that of the chairperson of the Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee, currently held by Klobuchar.
The plans are a return to the position Schumer held before he became leader, when he was the DPCC chairman and held the third spot under former Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev.
Schumer's broader leadership team proposal also calls for two vice chairs of the conference, positions currently held by Sens. Mark Warner of Virginia and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts; chair of outreach, currently held by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.; vice chairs of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, currently held by Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Joe Manchin of West Virginia; conference secretary, currently held by Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin; vice chair of outreach, currently held by Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada; and the new deputy conference secretary position.
Those senators may not hold the same positions in the new Congress. Schumer will also need to find a chairperson for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan currently chairs. Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona said he is not ruling out the seat, but Sen. Alex Padilla of California said he isn't interested in it at this time.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., meanwhile, is also proposing broad reforms in the leadership team, starting in 2024.
Under his plan, the whip, DPCC chairperson, and the Steering Committee chairperson will not be able to also hold prime committee leadership roles.
Whitehouse in 2020 challenged Durbin after he sought to head the Judiciary Committee while remaining in the number-two leadership position, but the Democrat caucus voted to let him keep both roles as long as he and other Senate leaders offered to give chairmanships to prime subcommittees.
Currently, Durbin chairs the Judiciary Committee; Stabenow heads Agriculture; and Klobuchar chairs Rules.
The Democrat caucus is expected to discuss the new rules changes next Tuesday and vote on them on Dec. 1, one week before the leadership elections are held.
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