Robert Byrd's resignation as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee has touched off a game of musical chairs among Democratic leaders - and Sen. Charles Schumer is one of the big winners, a source said yesterday.
The New York politico is poised to take over as chairman of the powerful Rules Committee in the midst of the shakeup.
Byrd's replacement is Sen. Dan Inouye (Hawaii), who will vacate his slot chairing the Commerce Committee.
It's likely that Sen. Jay Rockefeller (W.Va.) will take the Commerce slot and that Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) will replace him as chairwoman of the Intelligence Committee.
Schumer would then take over Feinstein's post as chairman of the Rules Committee. He is currently chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, which spans both houses of Congress.
He will likely become vice chairman of that committee, while Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), the current vice chairwoman, will take the top spot, sources said.