Magazine article American Banker

Foley Backs Sanders' Bid for More Power on House Panel

Magazine article American Banker

Foley Backs Sanders' Bid for More Power on House Panel

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- House Speaker Thomas S. Foley is trying to help Rep. Bernie Sanders, the self-described socialist from Vermont, obtain a better seating assignment on, the House Banking Committee.

Rep. Sanders, who often votes with Democrats. on key issues while retaining his status as Congress's only independent, wants to be seated above the House Banking Committee's 16 new Democrats.

The move would confer a semblance of Democratic Party status on the second-term lawmaker.

Opposition Among Democrats

He would be recognized earlier to ask questions at hearings and could potentially have a claim to seats on conference committees that negotiate legislation with the Senate.

An aide to Rep. Foley said the House speaker supports Rep. Sanders' efforts and is trying to be helpful. However, a number of banking committee Democrats are adamantly opposed to elevating Rep. Sanders' status on the panel.

Many, according to committee sources, believe the Vermont independent wants to have his cake and eat it, too: the benefits of Democratic Party membership in Washington, with the option to run against the party and criticize it back home.

Moreover, even the relatively small step of moving Rep. Sanders ahead of House freshmen in seating arrangements has a potentially significant long-term effect.

If he is granted seniority within the party, he could end up in line for the chairmanship of a House subcommittee that oversees the federal banking agencies. …

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