Rich Galen

If Senator Johnson is not physically able to vote on January 4, and if it appears as though his recovery might take some length of time, it is quite possible that the Republicans will hold Harry Reid's feet to the organizational fire by mounting a filibuster against what is normally a routine resolution.

They may demand, with only a 50-49 Democratic margin, that committees do not have a Democratic majority - but are evenly divided. If that is the case they will demand a much larger share of the staff budget which will have a huge impact on the way investigations are conducted.

According to Time Magazine's analysis, if the GOP filibusters the organizing resolution, Harry Reid would be the Majority Leader, but the current Committee chairs - Republican Committee chairs - would retain their positions until something is worked out.

The House, because the entire membership must stand for election every two years, starts anew with each Congress. The Senate, because two-thirds of its members are holdovers, considers itself a "continuing body," so the committees will stay as they are until an organizing resolution is adopted.

I know it all sounds like a Tom Clancy novel but that's what we'll be talking about through the holidays in Washington.

On the Secret Decoder Ring today: A link to the Time Magazine piece, a Mullfoto which will thrill and amaze you, and a Catchy Caption of the Day.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at