Gillibrand won’t stand in Elizabeth Warren’s way for a Banking Committee seat

Elizabeth Warren, direct to camera. (elizabethwarren.com)
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One of the more intriguing post-election sub-plots in Washington centers on what exactly the Democratic leadership will do with its newest star, the firebrand consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren.

Warren's backers desperately want her to get a seat on the Senate Banking Committee, a prospect that already concerns financial industry executives on Wall Street, who bankrolled her unsuccessful opponent, Republican Scott Brown.

Some reports have even speculated that Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand might trump Warren for one of the two Democratic spots coming open on the committee, by virtue of her (relative) seniority.

Wall Street would undoubtedly prefer Gillibrand, an evolving friend of the hometown financial service sector, who raised more money from the industry than any Senate candidate except Brown, and only slightly less than House Speaker John Boehner.

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But a Gillibrand spokesman just told me that the senator is not seeking a seat on the committee. So that scenario, in which Warren is effectively blocked by Gillibrand, isn't going to happen.

It would have been highly unusual in any case for Gillibrand to join her colleague, senior senator Chuck Schumer, on the committee, since senators usually spread their state's influence by sitting on separate committees.

Schumer and Gillibrand have something of an upstate-downstate division of labor, with Gillibrand sitting on the Agriculture Committee, along with Armed Services, Environment and Public Works, and Aging.