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Congress: Setting a date

"Amid fevered speculation about possible contenders for Senator Edward M. Kennedy's seat, Gov. Deval Patrick on Monday scheduled a special election for Jan. 19 and said he would keep pushing the state legislature to change the law so he could name an interim successor," the New York Times writes.

More: "Massachusetts has not had an open Senate seat since 1984, and excitement is running high about two possible candidates in particular: Victoria Reggie Kennedy, Mr. Kennedy's widow, and Joseph P. Kennedy II, his nephew. On Sunday, two senators who are friends of the Kennedy family, Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut, and Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah, said Mrs. Kennedy would be a formidable successor. Despite their comments, she reiterated on Monday that she was not interested in the seat, people close to the family said."

The Boston Globe looks at how after Chappaquiddick Kennedy "entered the pantheon of American icons, where he remained throughout his career -- although his cultural resonance shifted as he matured, evolving from dynastic playboy to Capitol Hill power broker."

Kennedy's war chest: "When he died of brain cancer last week, Senator Edward M. Kennedy left behind a war chest many politicians would envy: $4.55 million in cash and practically no campaign debt, the benefits of a 47-year incumbency and no serious political threats at homeā€¦ The late senator most likely left clear instructions with his staff about how to manage his campaign funds after his death." But the money "won't be of much use to any potential successors. According to campaign finance rules, the campaign can only give $2,000 or less to another political campaign -- even after the candidate's death. That would prevent Kennedy's campaign operatives from turning over the bulk of the money to a potential successor, including his widow, Victoria Reggie Kennedy, or his nephew, Joseph P. Kennedy II."

Turning to health care, "U.S. Sen. Max Baucus of Montana says a health care overhaul will happen this year even if Republicans back out of bipartisan talks under growing public pressure and that the death of Sen. Edward Kennedy could help hold together a compromise deal." Of Republicans, Baucus said, "I think the chances are still good," Baucus told The Associated Press in an interview Monday. "I talked to them, and they all want to do health care reform. But the sad part is a lot politics have crept in. They are being told by the Republican Party not to participate."

Who wants some compromise? "Sen. Judd Gregg has hundreds of procedural objections ready for a healthcare plan Democrats leaders want to speed through the Senate," The Hill reports. "Gregg (N.H.), the senior Republican on the Budget Committee, told the Hill in a recent interview that Republicans will wage a vicious fight if Democrats try to circumvent Senate rules and use a budget maneuver to pass a trillion dollar healthcare plan with a simple majority" -- the same maneuver Republicans used when they controlled the White House and Congress.

And climate change will have to wait, Roll Call reports. "The Senate debate on climate change will be delayed until later this fall, given that two key players have said they will not even introduce their bill until late September. Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Senate Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.) said they would not introduce their legislation next week as they had planned. They attributed the delay to last week's death of Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and the timing of the health care debate, which continues to rage on."