Michigan Congressional Retirements: A Case Study in the Effects of Seniority

Four major Michiganders will be departing Congress at the end of this year, taking along with them the power that flowed from their positions in the legislature. Democrats Senator Carl Levin and Representative John Dingell and Republican Representative Dave Camp and Representative Mike Rogers have all announced their retirements. Senator Levin is Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Representative Camp is the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. Representative Rogers is the Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Representative Dingell is the longest-serving Member of Congress and has held important chairmanships in the past. Chairmen have considerable authority over the legislation their committees produce. Very senior Members, like Representative Dingell, also have much informal power. “While most delegations tend to work across party lines on big state issues, the combination of seniority and bipartisanship has yielded exceptional results in Michigan”, writes Jennifer Steinhauer of The New York Times.

New York Times: With 4 Senior Lawmakers Retiring, Michigan Faces Loss of Its Clout in Congress

Senate Democratic Leaders, Endangered Incumbents Careful on Immigration Statements

Senate Democrats, especially those in leadership and those running in tight re-election races, are treading a fine line on whether and when President Barack Obama should use Executive actions to make changes in American immigration policy. They are caught between a rock and a hard place: Allies in their base are pushing for dramatic change, including a halt to deportations, but such actions could tip the scales against endangered Democrats. According to Politico, in the past, leadership Senators have been more vociferous in calling on the President to act, but are now holding back. One threatened Democrat, Senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas, has actively criticized the idea of unilateral action by the President, saying, “I’m not for government by executive order”. According to an Associated Press-GfK poll from July, 68 percent of respondents were dissatisfied with how President Obama has handled immigration policy.

Politico: Democrats to White House: Immigration’s Your Call

And for our latest post: Is Congress Really “Useless”?