The news that longtime Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch will retire, rather than seek another term, not only is drawing attention to a possible Mitt Romney run to replace Hatch; it’s also focusing attention on Senate seniority dominoes and chairmanships. Hatch chairs the Senate Finance Committee, which oversees taxes, trade, health care and entitlements. When he departs, Roll Call reports, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, the current Senate Judiciary chairman, would be in line for the Finance chairmanship, if he wants it. If he does, Sen. Lindsay Graham would be in line to replace Grassley as Judiciary chair. But if Grassley opts to stay with Judiciary – which will have numerous judicial appointments to vet along with much other business – it’s Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo who’d be next in line for the Finance chairmanship.
Crapo now chairs the Senate Banking Committee, a post he just took on this year.
You can read Roll Call’s full report here. Politico also has a report here, in which Grassley declined to say whether he’d stick with Judiciary or switch to chair Finance in early 2019. “You know what? You need to ask me that question in about a year from now, or maybe 10 months from now," he told Politico. “There’s so many things that enter into that. No. 1, will we still be in the majority?”
Crapo declined to comment today on the chairmanship possibilities, but did say, “Senator Hatch has been a leader in the Senate throughout his career on many important issues. While he has announced plans to retire at the end of the current term, I am confident that, as Chairman of the Finance Committee, Senator Hatch will not rest as he brings his impressive career to a close. During that time, I will continue to work with him closely and collaboratively.”