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Dodd stays at Banking, Harkin to HELP

From NBC's Mark Murray
As expected, Sen. Chris Dodd will stay as chairman of the Banking Committee and won't take over the reins of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee that Ted Kennedy chaired. "We all had hoped that Teddy would be able to come back to see this through," Dodd said in a statement. "Unfortunately, that wasn't possible. But I intend to keep the promise I made. And so, I am pleased that I will able to continue the role he asked me to take on as the HELP Committee's leader on health care reform."

"But," Dodd added, "we have important work to do on the Banking Committee, and I intend to see it through as chairman. The Banking Committee is of vital importance to Connecticut, responsible for issues central to the economic security and prosperity of the people of my state."

Taking over the chairmanship of the HELP Committee will be Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin, who is the current chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee. Stepping into that Ag position in the musical chairs is Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, which could help her in her re-election effort next year.