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Congress: Succeeding Kennedy

The Boston Globe writes, "With Massachusetts having paid its final respects to Senator Edward M. Kennedy, the politics of succession begins in earnest this week -- candidates will emerge, a race will take shape, and the Kennedy clan will have to reveal whether it wants to keep the seat in the family. All eyes now are on Joseph P. Kennedy II, the former US representative, with family members and political allies expecting him to make a decision very shortly on whether to enter the Democratic primary. No other Kennedy of his generation with the political stature to step into the role has signaled interest in it, according to Democratic insiders and people close to the family. And Victoria Reggie Kennedy, the senator's widow, who many expected would be a likely candidate, so far has indicated she is not interested in succeeding her husband, those close her have said."

More: "Joe Kennedy's decision is likely to determine the plans of the dean of the Massachusetts congressional delegation, US Representative Edward J. Markey, who is telling associates he is seriously considering running, and US Representative Michael Capuano, a Somerville Democrat who is also thinking of joining the primary race. Both are Kennedy loyalists and would not run against a member of the family, according to people familiar with their thinking, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal political calculations." Other possibilities: Attorney General Martha Coakley, Rep. Stephen F. Lynch, Edward Kennedy Jr. Republicans: Kerry Healey, state Sen. Scott Brown, and former U.S. attorney Michael Sullivan. 

"Senators Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah, and Chris Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut, said on CNN's 'State of the Union' that they could support Kennedy's widow, Victoria Reggie Kennedy, as an interim senator if Massachusetts lawmakers allow a temporary appointment before a special election." 

"At the graveside service at Arlington National Cemetery for Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, archbishop emeritus of Washington, D.C. and a family friend, read portions of the letter that President Obama delivered on Kennedy's behalf to the Pope last month and portions of the pope's reply." 

"Massachusetts lawmakers are beginning to rally behind a plan that would allow for a special appointment to fill the late Sen. Edward Kennedy's (D) seat, allowing the Democratic caucus to maintain a critical vote margin as the Senate takes up major health care and energy reform… Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is pushing for an appointment as well, citing the upper chamber's busy workload."

A Wall St. tax? "The nation's largest labor union and some allied Democrats are pushing a new tax that would hit big investment firms such as Goldman Sachs reaping billions of dollars in profits while the rest of the economy sputters. The AFL-CIO, one of the Democratic Party's most powerful allies, would like to assess a small tax -- about a tenth of a percent -- on every stock transaction. Small and medium-sized investors would hardly notice such a tax, but major trading firms, such as Goldman, which reported $3.44 billion in profits during the second quarter of 2009, may see this as a significant threat to their profits."

Reuters: "U.S. Representative Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, hopes to craft a compromise bill with lawmakers who want to open Federal Reserve monetary policy decisions to audits. A bill sponsored by Texas Republican Representative Ron Paul that would allow the Government Accountability Office, a congressional watchdog agency, to audit Fed interest-rate decisions has won the cosponsorship of more than half of the House."

"With four appointed Senators seated and at least one, if not two more, on the way, a growing number of unelected officials are going to have a significant voice in major legislation in the 111th Congress. But even though six appointed Senators is nowhere near the most to ever serve together, it would be the largest number in more than 40 years… Six appointed Senators would be the most since 1961-1962, when seven appointed Senators served in the 87th Congress… Thirteen appointed Senators served in the 79th Congress, spanning 1945-1946, which is the largest number, according to the Senate Historical Office. Ten appointed Senators served in both the 65th (1917-1918) and 83rd (1953-1954) Congresses. In the first half of the 20th century, appointed Senators were much more common, with an average of six from 1913 through 1954. Between the six appointed Senators in the 87th Congress and this 111th Congress, the average number of appointed Senators in a Congress has been two. Part of the reason is that the chamber is growing younger."