One of Mary Landrieu’s latest arguments for keeping her position as Louisiana’s senior senator is that with the retirement of Max Baucus (D-MT), she’ll be moving up in the ranks among the Senate’s Environment and Public Works committee and end up chairing the Energy subcommittee.
Interestingly enough, National Journal created an infographic about the makeup of EPW which doesn’t even mention Landrieu. Instead, it’s a lot more interested in David Vitter’s future plans as a potential chairman of that committee…
National Journal’s formulation of the EPW leadership sweepstakes essentially says that if Landrieu wins re-election, which would in all likelihood correspond with another failed GOP attempt to retake the Senate majority, she might be the head of the Energy subcommittee but Barbara Boxer, more or less the most anti-oil and gas senator imaginable, would be the overall committee chair. At best – at best – Landrieu’s efforts to help her supposed friends in the oil and gas industry would be hamstrung by the need to keep Boxer happy.
But if Landrieu loses, which would in all likelihood correspond with the Republicans retaking the majority, Louisiana would then have a senator sitting atop the EPW committee in Vitter. What would that produce? Well, Vitter would be in a position to impact flood insurance legislation, he would hold a whip hand over the Army Corps of Engineers and the Corps’ projects regarding the Mississippi and the coast and he would be in a strong position to influence energy policy.
Given that committee chairmanship, it’s quite possible Vitter might pass up the opportunity to run for governor in 2015. Chairing that committee is very nearly the pinnacle of what a senator from Louisiana could do in Washington when one considers the crucial issues to the state that chairmanship can affect.
That said, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for Murkowski, Imhofe and Barrasso to spend a little time in Louisiana next year to reassure folks in the oil patch that their concerns will be quite adequately addressed with a Republican majority – and without the price of a 97 percent fealty to Barack Obama on the Senate floor as Landrieu offers.