GOP "anxieties over the fate" of Pres. Bush's judicial nominees "spiked" 6/6 as Dems took control of the confirmation process in the change of power. With 16 nominees pending and more than 100 vacancies to fill, "the handling of judicial appointments could be the first great test of power between" the WH and the new Senate. GOPers "pressed for ground rules on the confirmation process and briefly threatened to hold up reorganization of the Senate, while the chamber's new Democratic leaders promised to be fair -- but refused to be pressured" (Mason, Houston Chronicle, 6/7). GOPers "softened their line of attack" and "set the stage for a quick deal" on how to reorganize cmtes. And "while a settlement was not immediately at hand" 6/6, GOP leaders "were predicting the organizing dispute would be resolved imminently." Dems are likely to end up with a one seat majority on all cmtes by adding a Dem to the "previously dead-locked panels." And some GOPers said they "would be reluctant to rewrite Senate rules in a way that would guarantee floor votes even for nominees defeated" in cmte. Instead, the GOPers want Senate Maj. Leader Tom Daschle to give a written or verbal commitment that nominees will be treated fairly (Kane, Roll Call, 6/7).

"Negotiators appeared to be moving" toward a "publicly stated promise from Daschle, read into the 'Congressional Record,' that nominees would get a fair hearing" (Welch/Kiely, USA Today, 6/7). NPR's Liasson: "There are a lot of Republicans who think it's a bad idea to start out having one of the first acts of the Republican minority that is seen as obstruction" ("Special Report," FNC, 6/6). Some GOPers "are holding out for a so-called 'snap-back provision' that would return" the Senate to GOP control if Sen. Robert Torricelli (D-NJ) is indicted (Boyer, Washington Times, 6/7). Ex-Maj. Leader George Mitchell, on how Bush can work with Daschle: "I think he'll continue to push his agenda. And it's going to collide with the Democratic agenda inevitably. You see, I don't agree with this whole notion that bipartisanship means that you have to agree on everything. It's more a sense of agreeing where you can and where you disagree to do so in a civil manner, to employ tactics that are appropriate to the situation, but don't result in the kind of personal attacks, the so-called criminalization of politics, that unfortunately has occurred so often in the past couple of decades. And I think that the president also has a good easy-going personality and I think he and Tom should get along pretty well in a personal sense and able to find a good bit of common ground and where they do disagree, as inevitably they will, do so in a manner that is not personally destructive" ("IP," CNN, 6/6).


NBC's Brokaw: "In Washington tonight, it's now more than ceremonial. It's complete. The Democrats are moving into the larger offices and into the chairmen's chairs in the US Senate. They're in charge. And now the question is what will they do with their new power?" ("Nightly News," 6/6). "Fewer" than 50 sens. were in the chamber when the transition became official. Sen. James Jeffords (I-VT) was not present. Senate Maj. Whip Harry Reid (D-NV) formally recognized Daschle as Maj. Leader. The Senate then elected Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) as president pro tem. Daschle and Senate Min. Leader Trent Lott shook hands before either spoke. Both GOPers and Dems gave Daschle a standing ovation. In his speech, Daschle thanked Jeffords for his "courageous decision" (Lee/Rizzo, Dallas Morning News, 6/7). Daschle, in his speech: "At a time when Americans are evenly divided in their choice of leaders, they are united in the demand for action" (McGregor, Financial Times, 6/7).

Lott, in his speech: "I want to extend my congratulations to ... my partner and my friend, Tom Daschle, as majority leader. I also extend to him my hand of continued friendship and commitment to work with him for the interest of the American people" (Zuckman, Chicago Tribune, 6/7). CNN's Woodruff: "Some of the significance of the day might have been lost in the stilted language of the Senate, its parliamentary procedures, and the fact that the chamber wasn't even filled. But you'd be hard-pressed to find an official in Washington who sees the transfer of Senate control to the Democrats as a mere formality" ("IP," 6/6). "Titles were treaded, signs on doors changed, offices exchanged." And there was "a widely share sense of reality: that neither side rules, that political advantage is fragile and fleeting." Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI): "We're all 40 years old or over. One of us is 98. We go on planes, trains, and automobiles. I'm very happy, but for anyone to think we can settle in is a mistake" (Gilbert, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 6/7). Just three words marked the transition, Byrd: "Mr. Majority Leader." A Jeffords' aide said the sen. did not attend because "he did not want to be a distraction" (Milligan, Boston Globe, 6/7).


After the transition, the Senate "plunged back into its business -- an education reform bill seen as one of the best chances for minting a new bipartisanship" (Frandsen, Gannett News Service/Detroit News, 6/7). In his first vote as an Independent, Jeffords voted against a Dem amendment on the education bill (Rosenbaum, New York Times, 6/7). CNN's Karl, on Jeffords keeping distance from Dems: "Jim Jeffords, the man who single-handedly put the Democrats in power, has been eagerly embraced by his new Democratic colleagues, but he was not on hand as Daschle was first recognized as majority leader. And on the very first vote under Democratic control, Jeffords showed he can be a thorn in the side of Democrats just as he frequently was of Republicans. ... Jeffords was the only senator on the Democratic side of the aisle to vote against an education amendment offered by Paul Wellstone on student testing" ("IP," 6/6). Jeffords "seemed a bit lost at first as he tried to find his desk," which had been moved across the aisle (Lancaster/Dewar, Washington Post, 6/7). "The unemotional ritual tended to obscure the fact that the balance of power in Washington had been upended and that both political parties were in turmoil as a result" (Hook/Miller, Los Angeles Times, 6/7). Dems "plan to maximize their shaky strength in the Senate by trying to assemble bipartisan deals" that will give the party a "higher profile" as it searches for its post-Clinton identity (Dewar, Washington Post, 6/7). New York Times editorial: "For all the forced bonhomie, it was a reassuring start that benefited from President Bush's simultaneous, if overdue, outreach to the Democrats" (6/7).


The RNC issued a news release criticizing new Energy and National Resources cmte chair Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) as a "big oil" man. The release cites Bingaman's campaign contributions from oil, gas, and electric utility fields (Kuhnhenn, Knight Ridder/Detroit Free Press, 6/7). A new advocacy group led by OK Gov. Frank Keating (R) announced plans for a nat'l campaign to garner support for Bush's judicial nominees. The People for Common Sense advocacy group began airing TV ads in Daschle's home state of SD (Mason, Houston Chronicle, 6/7). The RNC sent out an 11-page release entitled "The Leftward Lurch: An Overview of some of the Liberal Democrats who have taken over the Senate Committee." The release looks at each one of the new Senate cmte chairs. Examples: It notes that new Approps chair Sen. Byrd is "famous for loading appropriations bills with pork." Health and Education Chair Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) "has been fighting for government-controlled health care." Small Business Chair Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) has a "voting record hostile to small businesses." Gov't Affairs Chair Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) "has abandoned his pre-2000 conciliatory tone, and has already called for at least 3 investigations." The release makes no mention of expected Environmental Chair Jeffords (6/6).


NBC's Myers, on GOPer Senate problems: "Some glum Republicans relinquish chairmanships and prime office space to Democrats and settle for less-powerful titles. Said to be taking his demotion hardest, now Minority Leader Trent Lott under fire because on his watch Republicans have gone from 55 seats to 49. Lott now has to watch his back, worry about a challenge from his number two. Tensions are even higher than usual between Lott's team and renegade John McCain, derided in Senate corridors as a disloyal publicity hound." More Myers, on Dem. Senate problems: "Daschle and the Democrats have problems, too. They're split over strategy. Democratic sources say Hillary Rodham Clinton argues to stick it to Bush at every turn. Others, such as John Breaux and sometimes even Ted Kennedy, want to compromise to get things done. And some moderates in both parties fear their leaders are actually gearing up for the next showdown" ("Nightly News," 6/6).


Before Daschle dines with Bush tonight at the WH, he plans to swing by a DASCHPAC fundraiser that "is expected to draw a healthy crowd of lobbyists as Washington's influence industry -- always pursuing those who control the policy agenda -- adjusts to the new alignment of the Senate" (Anderson, Los Angeles Times, 6/7).

NO MORE SWITCHES? MSNBC's Matthews to Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R-RI): "If you switched to 'D' or independent 'D,' would your vote go up or down in the next election? ... What's your hunch?" Chafee: "Well, I'm not a big one for switching. It's a very Democratic --" Rep. Joe Scarborough (R-FL): "Thank goodness!" Matthews to Chafee: "Except what? ... You're not going to switch?" Chafee: "No" ("Hardball," 6/6). BANKING BLUES FOR GREENSPAN?

"Life could be about to get more difficult" for Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan as Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D-MD) is now Banking Cmte chair. Sarbanes "was a persistent critic of U.S. monetary; policy throughout the 1990s and one of the few senators to openly challenge" Greenspan in his senate appearances (Luce, Financial Times, 6/7).


Sec. of the Senate Gary Sisco told GOP sens. 6/5 that he is quitting, "a move that will pave the way" for Daschle to "put his stamp on the two patronage jobs in the chamber." Sisco's exit "coincides with the likely departure of Senate Sargent-at-Arms James Ziglar," who Bush nominated to be the new commmiss. for Immigration and Naturalization. Two Daschle aides are rumored to be under consideration for one of the posts -- Maj. Sec. Martin Paone and senior Daschle aide Jeri Thompson (Preston, Roll Call, 6/7).