Senate shuffle and new ag chair

As a result of the Senate committee musical chairs following Ted Kennedy's unfortunate passing, Chris Clayton reports that Blanche Lincoln will likely assume chairwomanship of the Agriculture Committee. This looks like bad news for climate legislation and any sort of agricultural trade reform.
Lincoln will likely change some dynamics in agriculture policy. She has been a staunch defender of commodity payments and resisted tighter payment caps or income eligibility requirements in the 2007-08 farm bill debate. Lincoln also likely is going to be more skeptical of climate legislation because it may offer little benefit for rice growers or producers of other southern crops. She was quoted in mid-August saying Congress should just focus on a renewable-energy bill and drop the cap-and-trade emissions plan.

Political newspapers say Lincoln already faces a tough reelection bid for 2010 and may have come across as more conservative in Arkansas to keep her seat as well.
This could hurt climate bill efforts almost as much as the temporary loss of the 60th vote.

Update: Didn't take long for her to voice her skepticism:
Just minutes after taking the gavel of the influential Senate Agriculture Committee, new chairwoman Blanche Lincoln cast even more doubt about the future of climate legislation in the Senate.

"I think it's a heavy lift for the Senate," said Lincoln. "We have a tremendous amount of work to do, having been in the hearings today."

Update 2: Joe Romm echoes an optimistic NYT quote that “the new chairwoman said she does not expect her panel to hold a markup on any contributions to the climate bill.”

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