Specter given plum subcommittee chairmanship

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WASHINGTON -- Senate Democrats are giving Sen. Arlen Specter a plum subcommittee chairmanship on the Judiciary Committee.

A congressional official said today that Majority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois has volunteered to give up his chairmanship of the crime subcommittee. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly. The panel is the Judiciary Committee's busiest subcommittee, responsible for legislation on drug sentencing.

The move is designed to placate Republican-turned-Democrat Specter after Democrats failed to honor his 29 years of seniority on committees. Democrats hope to keep Mr. Specter's Pennsylvania Senate seat in next year's elections.


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