California Sen. Kamala Harris is reportedly in danger of losing her seat on the Senate Judiciary Committee if Republicans follow through on reducing the size of the panel.
The Washington Post reported Sunday that the combination of an increased Republican majority and Senate Republicans’ plans to reduce the size of the 21-seat committee as part of preparations for next year’s Congress make it likely Harris could be off the committee.
Republicans now hold 11 seats. Democrats 10.
Due to Harris’ status as the most junior member of the committee, she would be the first Democrat off if a Republican is added to the committee’s current size to account for the GOP’s increased majority in the chamber, according to the Post. If the committee is downsized, Harris is even more likely to be ousted.
Democrats’ Senate losses jeopardize national spotlight for possible 2020 hopeful https://t.co/zh5rTk6xoB
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) November 25, 2018
According to the Post, the Senate’s majority Republicans are considering not filling one of the two committee seats that are being vacated by retiring Sens. Orrin Hatch of Utah and Jeff Flake of Arizona.
Considering Harris is well known to have presidential ambitions, the loss of a high-profile platform like the Judiciary Committee would cut down on her potential ability to court public attention in a high-visibility role.
Given that the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller appears to be coming to a head and the Senate Judiciary Committee will have to approve any permanent replacement for former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the committee is likely to be in the public eye a good deal next year.
And if a Supreme Court vacancy opens in the next two years, a seat on the committee charged with approving any nomination by President Donald Trump would guarantee every senator on it — but particularly Democrats — a chance at the national spotlight.
Losing her seat on the Judiciary Committee could well endanger Harris’ chances of ever winning the Democratic nomination.
However, Democrats are scrambling to strike a deal with Republicans to keep Harris on the committee, the report claims.
Senate Minority Leader Schumer could come to an agreement with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to increase the committee’s size and give Republicans more seats so that no Democrats could be “forced off.”
Blumenthal told the Post that this “magically” happened to him back in 2014 when the Democrats lost the majority in the Senate.
“It was possible,” he said, “It can be done. The majority leader just makes it happen.”
Democrats argue that Harris, being a lawyer, is a skilled questioner and wants to continue her role on the committee.
Shortly after the midterms, Sen. Richard Blumenthal said, “She’s a real lawyer, she is the real deal, she’s a pro, and she also happens to be an African American woman.”
“She belongs on that committee,” he added, “she is an ideal member.”
Schumer echoed his sentiments saying, “Senator Kamala Harris is a terrific member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and we are going to do everything we can to keep her there.”
However, the report says that McConnell has “little incentive” for Republicans to keep Harris on the committee.
While McConnell’s office didn’t comment on the potential downsizing of the committee, it’s reported that McConnell is looking at putting pro-life advocate Sen.-elect Marsha Blackburn on the committee to replace Flake.
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