Rules Workaround Could Allow Burr Ranking Spot on Two Panels

Posted September 21, 2010 at 5:14pm

If Sen. Richard Burr is elected acting ranking member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday as expected, the North Carolinian could find himself in the rare position of being the top Republican on two committees.

GOP rules prohibit ranking Members on top committees, such as the energy panel, from serving as ranking member on other committees. Burr, who is ranking member on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, could sidestep the rule by being elected in an acting capacity to the energy panel.

The workaround would allow the GOP to quickly fill the position without disrupting any other committees or setting off internal jockeying before the midterm Congressional elections in November.

Committee Republicans are to vote Wednesday to replace Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) as ranking member.

Republicans decided to strip Murkowski of her committee leadership position during their weekly luncheon Tuesday. She will remain ranking member until the conference takes a formal vote to remove her Wednesday afternoon.

Committee Republicans will then meet to vote on a replacement, and most aides familiar with the discussion said they expect Burr to be elected. But GOP aides cautioned Tuesday that it was not set in stone that Burr, who is next in line to replace Murkowski, will be elected.