The mourning has just begun for Sen. Ted Kennedy who died Wednesday morning when he succumbed to a brain tumor, but Washington is what it is and speculation has begun on who will fill the voids Kennedy’s death creates.
One of those vacancies is chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which Sen. Chris Dodd has helped run, Politico reports.
Many insiders are telling the political news site that they think Dodd will become chairman.
Dodd is number 2 on the committee but stepped in to lead the charge on the national health care bill at Kennedy’s request when the chairman was too ill to write the bill himself.
Kennedy tried last fall, but needed to be away from Congress often and asked Dodd to take over.
Dodd told Roll Call that he regularly consulted Kennedy and involved Kennedy’s staff in writing the bill before he pushed it through a two-and-a-half week markup that resulted in a party-line vote.
But the issue is a divisive one and some said Kennedy’s absence was a drag on getting the bill through, according to Roll Call. Kennedy has the distinction of a long history of bipartisanship and deal making.
So, after taking on one of the most heated issues in Washington, Dodd might have to decide if he wants this committee and give up one that is almost as high profile -- chairmanship of the Banking Committee. That committee has been working on another hot button issue -- changing how Wall Street is regulated.
However, for now, elected officials are speaking just about Kennedy’s legacy rather that what comes next.
Dodd issued a statement Wednesday, talking about his friend and colleague.
“I will always remember Teddy as the ultimate example for all of us who seek to serve, a hero for those Americans in the shadow of life who so desperately needed one,” Dodd said.