Seniority Matters

  • Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Dear Editor,
In the Realpolitik world of Washington seniority matters and will impact legislation and the South Carolina economy.
This occurs because the assignment of congressional committee positions, and perhaps more importantly committee chairpersons, are usually determine by seniority. These influential assignments impact legislation, congressional voting and budgets discussions.
 According to the Congressional Research Service the 113th session of House of Representatives has an average tenure of 9.8 years with 54% of the membership serving less than 8 years . In practice, this means entering congressman will be regulated to junior positions on minor committees. Conversely, congressman with seniority will caucus with major committees and be eligible for leadership roles.
Turning to the economy, the role of seniority is important to all House Committees and is particularly relevant to committees’ dealing with Federal Budget allocations/expenditures. For South Carolina, federal spending in 2009 amounted to almost 30% of the state’s GDP with total expenditures exceeding $46.9 billion .
Among the plethora of 16 contenders in the upcoming Republican primary only former Congressman Mark Sanford has three terms of congressional seniority. This will provide a unique opportunity to reestablish his proven conservative credentials, directly influence important fiscal policy and the ability to monitor government spending at both the state and national levels.
David Warner

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