Franken Replaces Whitehouse on HELP Panel

Posted July 15, 2009 at 5:48pm

Newly minted Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) will take his seat on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee now that the panel has voted out its health care bill, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced Wednesday.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) temporarily held the spot while the panel took up its comprehensive health care reform bill. With that bill approved by committee earlier in the day on a party line 13-10 vote, Whitehouse’s brief tenure ends.

Whitehouse “enthusiastically accepted this temporary assignment while we waited for the long never-ending situation in Minnesota [to] come to a close,— Reid said in a floor statement, referencing the epic recount in the Gopher State between Franken and former Sen. Norm Coleman (R).

Franken, who was sworn into office July 7 after the Minnesota Supreme Court declared him the winner in the state’s recount battle, also sits on the Aging, Indian Affairs and Judiciary committees.