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(May 23, 2001) -- The fate of the U.S. Senate was postponed for a day after Sen. James Jeffords decided to delay his announcement of a party switch until tomorrow, when he can make the announcement in his home state of Vermont rather than in the capital.

The senator has indicated he would leave the Republican Party to become an independent. While Washington waits to see what the political implications of Sen. Jeffords' decision will be on President Bush's agenda, a switch in party control of the Senate could have significant impact on marketers.

One immediate change would put Sen. Ernest "Fritz" Hollings, D-S.C., an advocate of stronger regulation of Internet privacy, in charge of Commerce Committee, replacing John McCain, R-Ariz., who favors less regulation. Sen. Jeffords could get to keep his chairmanship of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, but the duty could fall to Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass. Changes to the committee's makeup could lead to more bills to restrict marketers access to schools and increase the prospects for new tobacco legislation. -- Ira Teinowitz

Copyright May 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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