Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Sen. Johnson Might Chair Banking Committee And Gets Attacked By Huffington Post

I was reading through Huffington Post, like I do most days, when I see a picture of Senator Tim Johnson. It led to an article that suggests Johnson might become the new chair of the Senate Banking Committee if Sen. Dodd moves over to chair the Health Committee in Sen. Kennedy's place. But then the majority of the article attacks Johnson's record on banking issues.

If Senator Tim Johnson ascends to the chairmanship of the Senate Banking Committee, the biggest winners will be Wall Street, pay-day lenders and credit card companies. The biggest losers: widows and orphans.

No, really.

In late 2006, the South Dakotan spoke out against an effort by his fellow Democrats to cap the interest rates that members of the military pay for short-term loans. "This time it's military. Who's to say it isn't going to be widows and orphans or other sympathetic groups in the future?" he griped in an interview with the American Banker.

That's the man who's next in line to lead the Banking Committee if the current chair, Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), as expected, vacates the position to take the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee chair left empty by the death of Ted Kennedy.

Now, I'm a Johnson supporter so my first reaction is to be mad at Huffington Post for attacking my senator. On the other hand, I'm a liberal and I believe regulations are important to make sure big companies are not robbing us all into bankrupcy *cough*insurance companies*cough*, so I'm usually in favor of government regulations. But here in South Dakota we have a lot of banking industry jobs that I don't want to see disappear, and I'm guessing Johnson feels the same way.

The article offers up some other possibilities for what might happen, including Johnson being skipped over or maybe beign chairman would make him rethink his pro-banking industry positions. I don't know. I'd like to see Johnson get the chair because I think it would do good things for South Dakota, but I worry that he'll get a backlash from liberals in other states.

We'll have to see.

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