Washington Weekly: Week of November 21, 2022

Washington Weekly: Week of November 21, 2022

Meet the 118th Congress

The following provides an overview of the 118th Congress beginning January 2023, including expected leadership structures of House and Senate committees.

House Republicans will take control of the Chamber and committees next year, making Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) the next likely Speaker of the House with Rep. Steven Scalise (R-LA) as the Majority Leader. Their overall priorities next year include conducting oversight of the Biden Administration’s immigration policies and Afghanistan withdrawal, in addition to the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.

House Democratic leadership is clearing out with Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) announcement that she will not seek another term as Democratic Leader (Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) made a similar announcement). The most likely candidates to fill their places are Reps. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and Katherine Clark (D-CA), respectively.

In the Senate, Democrats will retain control of the Chamber and committees after holding their majority in the midterms. Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will remain leaders of their parties, and will likely need to strike a deal next year on increasing the debt limit to avoid a national default.

The partisan makeup in Senate committees will remain evenly split to reflect the 50-50 divide in the Chamber unless Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) wins reelection over Herschel Walker (R-GA) in the December 6th runoff, giving Democrats an overall 51-49 advantage.

House Committees:

House Appropriations – Chairwoman Kay Granger (R-TX) & Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)

Rep. Granger represents Texas’ 12th congressional district, and was the first Republican Woman to represent Texas in the House when she was first elected in 1997. Rep. DeLauro represents Connecticut’s third congressional district. They both currently hold leadership positions in the powerful House Appropriations Committee, which constitutionally has “first bite at the apple” on determining funding for the federal government and local projects.

Rep. Granger is a fiscal hawk, having most recently voted against a now-passed stopgap government funding package given her disagreement with the Administration over fiscal and immigration policy. Rep. Granger can be expected to support vigorous oversight of the Biden Administration in the 118th Congress, particularly over the funding of rulemaking operations that she finds objectionable. She often cites the Supreme Court’s recent decision in West Virginia v. EPA, finding that the EPA lacked the authority to regulate greenhouse gases because Congress didn’t explicitly state it could do so in statute.

Below is a likely leadership overview of the major Appropriation Subcommittees, which each have the responsibility of crafting their portions of annul appropriations packages and receiving earmark projects:

  • Transportation-Housing & Urban Development: Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) is the subcommittee’s top Republican, but would need a waiver on his term limit in the subcommittee to become the Chairman. However, he has also expressed an interest in running for Chairman of the State & Foreign Operation subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee. The top Democrat position on THUD is being vacated by retiring Rep. David Price (D-NC).
  • Labor-Health & Human Services-Education: Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) is the subcommittee’s top Republican and is seeking a term limit waiver to become the Chairman. Rep. DeLauro, the top Democrat on the full Appropriations Committee, is also the top Democrat on the subcommittee.
  • Energy and Water: Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) is the subcommittee’s top Republican and is seeking a waiver to become the Chairman. He could face competition from Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN), the top Republican on the Homeland Security subcommittee, who has expressed an interest in chairing Energy & Water. The top Democrat on the subcommittee is Marcy Kaptur (D-OH).

House Agriculture – Chairman Glenn Thompson Jr. (R-PA) & Ranking Member David Scott (D-GA)

Rep. Thompson was first elected to Congress in 2008 for Pennsylvania’s 15th congressional district. Rep. Scott was first elected in 2002 and currently represents Georgia’s 13th congressional district. They are both set to retain their leadership positions on the Agriculture Committee, which has jurisdiction over matters such as commodities, conservation and forestry, livestock, etc.

During the 117th Congress, Rep. Thompson has been amenable to working with the Democratic majority on the Committee. However, he is quite critical of the Biden Administration and Rep. Scott on issues such as supply chain and tax policies. He is particularly concerned with the level of foreign investments – including Chinese – in U.S. land. Growing Republican scrutiny of China and the CCP reflects Rep. Thompson’s likely priorities as a potential Chair of the Agriculture Committee.

House Armed Services – Chairman Mike Rogers (R-AL) & Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA)

Rep. Rodgers represents Alabama’s third congressional district, and Rep. Smith represents Washington State’s ninth congressional district. They both are in the leadership of the House Armed Services Committee, which has jurisdiction over domestic and foreign defense policy, organization of the Departments of Defense and Energy, etc.

Rep. Rodgers is opposed to the Biden Administration’s policies regarding the DOD, including imposing a vaccine mandate for servicemembers and providing federal funds to servicemembers seeking abortion care. He believes these policies are contrary to the national interest and would likely seek to overturn them as Chairman of the committee. He is also opposed to the Administration’s national security strategy and is likely to probe its contours as the Chairman of the Armed Services Committee given the growing influence of China.

House Budget – Open

Leadership for the House Budget Committee is in flux for both parties. Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO) is the current committee Ranking Member making him a natural fit for Chairman after the House flipped. However, he is publicly campaigning for House Ways & Means Committee Chairman, leaving Reps. Jodey Arrington (R-TX), Lloyd Smucker (R-PA), and Buddy Carter (R-GA) as potential candidates to replace him (unless his Ways & Means bid fails). Furthermore, current Chairman John Yarmuth (D-KY) is retiring, leaving the top Democrat position open. Rep. Brian Higgins (D-NY) is a likely replacement, but Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-PA) is also in the running.

Regardless of which Republican holds the gavel, Republican leadership is sure to tie Democrats’ policies to current record-levels of inflation. Rep. Smith himself is committed to “taking the checkbook away” from Democrats to reduce inflation and fuel prices. He has particularly been critical of the COVID-19 relief Democrats passed in the early months of 2021 and the climate bill passed just before the midterm elections. His leadership would focus on these provisions through rigorous agency oversight. Furthermore, Committee Republicans will likely use a debt limit vote next year as a bargaining chip to advance their priorities, assuming Democrats can’t raise the limit before the end of this year.

House Education & Labor (under GOP Leadership, renamed “Education & Workforce”) – Chairman Tim Walberg (R-MI) & Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA)

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) is term-limited as Republican leader on the committee, leaving Rep. Walberg as the next senior Republican. The committee has jurisdiction over education policies and funding, in addition to workforce policies. Rep. Scott represents Virginia’s third congressional district.

Rep. Walberg currently represents Michigan’s seventh congressional district. In the 115th Congress, he was ranked as Michigan’s most effective member of Congress by the non-partisan Center for Effective Lawmaking, and received a similar designation in the following session on technology issues. He’s introduced bipartisan legislation easing the process for retiring seniors to enroll for Medicare Part B, but has been critical of Democratic policies such as the Administration’s response to the baby formula shortage and the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act. Chairman Walberg will likely be critical of new Democratic spending initiatives and policies that favor unions.

House Energy & Commerce – Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) & Ranking Member Frank Pallone (D-NJ)

Rep. McMorris Rodgers represents Washington’s fifth congressional district and was first elected in 2004. Rep. Pallone represents New Jersey’s sixth congressional district. They are currently their parties’ leaders on the House Energy & Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over issues of healthcare, FDA matters, water quality, energy production, internet policy, travel and tourism, biomedical research, etc.

Like other Republicans, Rep. McMorris Rodgers is intent on holding oversight of the Biden Administration for various decisions it’s made over the last two years. She has a negative stance toward renewable energy, in favor of fossil fuels. She has repeatedly stated that the U.S. is not ready to make the transition, and doing so would only impose more costs on an unwilling American market. All told, a Chairwoman McMorris Rodgers would devote much of her tenure to push the Administration away from clean energy and toward traditional fossil fuels.

House Financial Services – Chairman Patrick McHenry (R-NC) & Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-CA)

Rep. McHenry is serving in his ninth term as the Republican member for North Carolina’s 10th congressional district. Rep. Waters represents California’s 43rd congressional district. They both lead their parties on the House Financial Services Committee, which has jurisdiction over matters such as banking, housing, securities, and other financial and urban development matters.

Throughout his tenure, Rep. McHenry has criticized the Biden Administration and Democrats’ fiscal and equity policies. However, Rep. McHenry is willing to work with the Biden Administration on curbing outbound Chinese investment. He and his committee colleagues wrote to National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan earlier this year asking the Administration to work with Congress, rather than unilaterally through Executive Order, to protect national security citing numerous, bipartisan laws governing this area.

House Foreign Affairs – Chairman Mike McCaul (R-TX) & Ranking Member Gregory Meeks (D-NY)

Rep. McCaul is serving in his ninth term in Congress representing Texas’ 10th congressional district. Rep. Meeks is a senior member representing New York’s fifth congressional district. They both serve on the House Foreign Affairs Committee which has jurisdiction over international issues such as foreign aid, arms control, Middle East policy, etc.

Rep. McCaul can be described as a hawk on national security and foreign policy issues. He is generally supportive of sanctions, having recently called on the Biden Administration to take appropriate action against the Maduro regime in Venezuela and those responsible for continued violence and fighting in Ethiopia.

Another topic Rep. McCaul is certain to pursue next year is the Biden Administration’s chaotic withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan last year. Rep. McCaul led a letter earlier this year asking the State Department to preserve its documents in relation to the withdrawal in anticipation of oversight hearings next year. However, as a supporter of Ukrainian aid, Rep. McCaul is likely to make inquiries as to the Administration’s response to Russian aggression, including whether and to what extent the Administration has provided weapons assistance.

House Homeland Security – Chairmanship Open & Ranking Member Bennie Thompson (D-MS)

Due to Rep. John Katko’s (R-NY) retirement, those expected to replace him and become Chairman include Reps. Dan Bishop (R-NC), Michael Guest (R-MS), Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), Mark Green (R-TN), and Clay Higgins (R-LA) – all of whom are on the Homeland Security committee. The committee has jurisdiction over matters regarding policies surrounding homeland security, including oversight of the southern border – issues of which these candidates are all outspoken.

Rep. Bishop represents North Carolina’s ninth congressional district. Rep. Guest represents the third congressional district of Mississippi and is the second highest Republican on the committee behind the outgoing Rep. Katko. Rep. Green represents Tennessee’s seventh district. Rep. Higgins represents Louisiana’s third congressional district. Rep. Crenshaw represents Texas’s second congressional district. Leadership under either of these members is expected to focus heavily on oversight of the Administration’s handling of the southern border and immigration enforcement overall.

House Judiciary – Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) & Ranking Member Jerry Nadler (D-NY)

Rep. Jordan represents Ohio’s fourth congressional district. Rep. Nadler is a senior member of Congress and represents New York’s 10th congressional district. They have long served as their parties’ leaders on the Judiciary Committee which has jurisdiction over policies regarding law enforcement, antitrust, and overall legal and regulatory reform.

As a fierce ally of former president Trump, Rep. Jordan is very likely to use the gavel on the Judiciary Committee to launch a slew of investigations supported by the former president. He has supported similar initiatives as the Ranking Member of the committee. Specific investigations are likely to include oversight of the DOJ which is itself currently investigating members of the prior administration, including the former president.

House Natural Resources – Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-AR) & Ranking Member Raul Grijalva (D-AZ)

Rep. Westerman represents the fourth congressional district of Arkansas. Rep. Grijalva represents Arizona’s third congressional district. They currently both sit on the House Natural Resources Committee which has jurisdiction over policies regarding economic development in the territories and insular areas, energy and mineral resources, indigenous peoples, national parks and public lands, and water, oceans, and wildlife.

Rep. Westerman has called for policies to bolster American energy independence and rein in spending, in addition to investigating the Biden Administration. He has promised to use the committee’s oversight authority next year by having Department of Interior officials testify about their lack of compliance with committee Republicans’ requests for information.

House Oversight & Reform – Chairman James Comer (R-KY) & Ranking Member Open

Rep. Comer represents Kentucky’s first congressional district. The top Democratic spot will be left vacant following the primary election loss of Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY). Candidates hoping to replace her are Reps. Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Stephen Lynch (D-MA), and Jamie Raskin (D-MD). The committee handles general oversight activities of the federal government.

Rep. Comer has already identified three committee investigative priorities under his leadership: President Biden and his family, the origins of COVID-19, and the Administration’s handling of the southern border. However, he is also likely to place an emphasis on domestic energy production, censorship, and the Afghanistan withdrawal.

House Rules – Chairman Tom Cole (R-OK) & Ranking Member Jim McGovern (D-MA)

Rep. Tom Cole represents Oklahoma’s fourth congressional district. Rep. McGovern represents Massachusetts’ second congressional district. Both members currently lead their parties on the influential House Rules Committee, which sets the terms for how bills will advance to and be managed on the House Floor.

While serving as the Ranking Member of the committee, Rep. Cole criticized Democrats for seemingly not being bipartisan enough when advancing Republican-led legislation. He is expected to advance Republican floor priorities as Chairman.

House Science, Space, and Technology – Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK) & Ranking Member Open

Rep. Frank Lucas has represented Oklahoma’s third congressional district since 2003. Alongside outgoing Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), he currently serves as the Ranking Member for the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology which has jurisdiction over non-defense federal research and development, including NASA and the National Science Foundation. Top Democratic members hoping to replace Rep. Johnson include Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Haley Stevens (D-MI) – all of whom are also committee members.

Rep. Lucas’ tenure as Chairman will likely involve overseeing the implementation of this year’s bipartisan CHIPS Act which aims to bolster domestic semiconductor manufacturing, a bill Rep. Lucas voted against. He has also urged the Biden Administration to bolster America’s STEM workforce which will impact the future of American innovation.

House Small Business – Chairmanship Open & Ranking Member Nydia Velazquez (D-NY)

The top Republican spot has been vacated by Rep. Luetkemeyer who is hoping to lead the Financial Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions. Running to fill the post is Rep. Roger Williams (R-TX). His Democratic counterpart is Rep. Velazquez, who represents New York’s seventh congressional district.

Rep. Williams is a former businessowner who is opposed to the Biden Administration’s policies. He’s expected to hold rigorous oversight of the Administration’s pandemic relief policies for businesses in addition to the reauthorization of several small business innovation programs.

House Transportation & Infrastructure – Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO) & Ranking Member Open

Rep. Graves represents Missouri’s sixth congressional district. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) is the outgoing top Democrat, leaving the position open to candidates Reps. Elanor Homes Norton (D-DC) and Rick Larsen (D-CA). Whatever bipartisan pair ends up leading the committee will have jurisdiction over the nation’s surface, air, and water transportation and infrastructure policy.

Rep. Graves is opposed to much of the Biden Administration’s regulatory policies, especially in light of the West Virginia Supreme Court decision last term. He wrote to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg recently promising future oversight efforts under his leadership of the Department’s activities, citing action such as December 2021 FHWA guidance prioritizing certain projects and materials in an unlawful manner.

Furthermore, while Rep. Graves didn’t vote for that bipartisan infrastructure law when it passed last year, he has vowed to address its impacts on inflation and whether federal agencies are implementing it appropriately.

House Veterans’ Affairs – Chairman Mike Bost (R-IL) & Ranking Member Mark Takano (D-CA)

Rep. Mike Bost represents Illinois’ twelfth congressional district. Rep. Takano represents California’s 41st district. Both men currently lead their parties on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and underlying veterans’ healthcare policy.

Rep. Bost’s committee’s portfolio has been long impacted by efforts to provide the VA with modernized technology and improved healthcare for veterans. Specifically, he will likely oversee the implementation of the bipartisan law expanding healthcare to veterans exposed to toxic burn pits passed this year. However, he will also likely take steps to undercut the Administration’s move to provide abortions at VA facilities following the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

House Ways & Means – Chairmanship Open & Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-MA)

The top Republican spot is up for grabs with the retirement of Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) this year, although top Democrat Rep. Neal is retaining his leadership position in this committee which has jurisdiction over U.S. tax policy.

Potential Chairman candidates include Reps. Vern Buchanan (R-FL), Adrian Smith (R-NE), and Jason Smith (R-MO) – the latter of which has been favored to clinch the position given his close ties with the more conservative members of the party. Rep. Buchanan represents Florida’s 16th congressional district and has the most seniority on the panel. Rep. Adrian Smith represents Nebraska’s third congressional district, and Rep. Jason Smith represents Missouri’s eighth congressional district.

All Republican candidates supported former president Trump’s 2017 tax cuts and opposed President Biden’s recent corporate tax hikes in this year’s Inflation Reduction Act. As such, they are likely to hold extensive oversight of the IRS’ implementation of the law, including its providing of resources to hire 87,000 new agents.

Senate Committees:

Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry – Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) & Ranking Member John Boozman (R-AR)

The Senate Agriculture Committee is likely to retain its leadership structure as it begins to craft the 2023 farm bill, with climate-centered conservation being prioritized under Democratic leadership.

Sen. Stabenow, like Sen. Boozman, comes from a state with a large agricultural base. The two leaders have a collegial relationship that will likely aid the farm bill’s process through the committee. However, she may find difficulty in expanding food aid as Republicans have shown opposition to providing new resources.

While the committee will largely be focused on the farm bill next year, they will also contend with some Administration nominees, and may also take up digital commodities legislation.

Senate Appropriations – Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA) & Ranking Member Susan Collins (R-ME)

The top Democrat and Republican Appropriations spots are begin vacated by the retiring Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Richard Shelby (R-AL). Sen. Murray is departing the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee to fill the Democratic vacancy. She is joined by her Republican counterpart, Sen. Collins, meaning both the House and Senate Appropriations committees will be led entirely by women.

Both Senators have supported some level of abortion access, but Sen. Murray has explicitly advocated for the end of the Hyde Amendment which bars the use of federal funds for abortion services.

Senate Armed Services – Chairman Jack Reed (D-RI) & Ranking Member Roger Wicker (R-MS)

Sen. Reed has indicated that outcompeting China and Russia is a top priority, especially through shipbuilding thanks to a submarine construction base being located in his state. He will be joined by Sen. Wicker, who is departing the Commerce Committee, who has called the Armed Services Committee “one of the strongest places in Congress for bipartisanship.”

The two leaders will have primary responsibility for crafting the annual defense reauthorization bill (with an emphasis on military modernization), but Sen. Reed will also likely pursue ways for the U.S. to work with Taiwan as it fends off growing aggression from China. Sen. Wicker also believes in deterring China.

Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs – Chairman Sherrod Brown (D-OH) & Ranking Member Tim Scott (R-SC)

Sen. Brown is returning as Chairman, with Sen. Scott likely to replace retiring Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) as the committee’s top Republican. The committee has jurisdiction over policies regarding banking, financial regulation, housing, and transit.

Sen. Brown has been a staunch advocate for affordable housing policy and transit, two areas that took a beating during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Senator is also skeptical about the strength and necessity of cryptocurrency in the U.S., and may pursue policies that more closely regulate it.

Senate Budget – Chairman Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) & Ranking Member Lindsey Graham (R-SC)

Sen. Whitehouse is the most senior Democrat following Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) departure to lead the Senate HELP Committee. His Republican counterpart would be Sen. Graham, who is the committee’s current top Republican.

If Democrats can’t secure a debt limit deal before the end of the year, Sen. Whitehouse’s committee will need to work with Republicans to craft a deal to avoid a national default. Republicans have threatened to use the debt limit as a bargaining ship to reform entitlements such as Social Security, something that Democrats have long vowed not to cut.

Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation – Chairwoman Maria Cantwell (D-WA) & Ranking Member Ted Cruz (R-TX)

Sen. Cantwell will remain Chairwoman of the Commerce Committee alongside fellow committee member Sen. Cruz who will become the lead Republican. The committee handles issues of traditional and e-commerce, aviation policy, online privacy, and nominations in those areas.

Top of the committee’s agenda will be overseeing the implementation of last year’s infrastructure law and reauthorizing key aviation programs before they expire next September. Specific oversight issues in the infrastructure bill include advancing automated vehicle regulations and broadband deployment.

Sen. Cantwell will also oversee the nomination of the FAA’s next leader following the vacancy created last March. The committee will also likely resume considerations of online privacy bills which failed to gain traction this Congress.

Senate Energy and Natural Resources – Chairman Joe Manchin (D-WV) & Ranking Member Jon Barrasso (R-WY)

The leadership on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will remain the same next year as the committee oversees the nation’s energy and environment policy.

Sen. Manchin has proven to be a consequential figure in the Senate, often holding the deciding vote on many pieces of legislation given the Senate’s 50-50 split. He stands apart from most of his party given his embrace of fossil fuels and initial opposition to Democrats’ early version of their climate and healthcare legislation. Nevertheless, he helped pass what became the Inflation Reduction Act and his job as Chairman will be to oversee the bill’s $370 billion in clean energy and climate spending.

Sen. Manchin and Barrasso will also likely pursue energy permitting reform together, something Sen. Manchin has struggled to secure in this Congress due to general Democratic opposition.

Senate Environment and Public Works – Chairman Tom Carper (D-DE) & Ranking Member Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)

Leadership on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will also remain the same next year. Sen. Carper and Capito have formed a collegial relationship in pursuing infrastructure and environmental policies, including by crafting the core surface transportation component of last year’s bipartisan infrastructure law.

Sen. Carper’s agenda next year will likely involve overseeing the environmental aspects of the infrastructure law, including the removal of forever chemicals from water sources. However, he and Sen. Captio will likely disagree over the scope of the Biden Administration’s environmental regulations implementing the infrastructure law.

Senate Finance Committee – Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) & Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-ID)

The Senate Finance Committee will hold the same leadership structure next year as it did this year with Sens. Wyden and Crapo. With primary jurisdiction over tax policy, the committee will spend next year overseeing the implementation of various tax credits passed in this year’s Inflation Reduction Act. Members will also need to take up the nomination of Danny Werfel to be IRS Commissioner before the end of the year.

Senate Foreign Relations – Chairman Bob Menendez (D-NJ) & Ranking Member James Risch (R-ID)

Both parties will retain their leadership makeup on the Foreign Relations Committee next year with Sens. Menendez and Risch, both of whom are vocal supporters of Taiwan and Ukraine. Both members support the Taiwan Policy Act which would provide $4.5 billion in defense assistance for Taiwan against China’s aggression.

Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions – Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-VT) & Ranking Member Open

While Sen. Sanders has indicated he will campaign to be Chairman of the HELP Committee next year, the top Republican position is still in flux. Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) is retiring at the end of this year, leaving Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) as the next most senior Republican. However, he is also a senior Republican on the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. If he were to take that committee, Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) would be next in line.

The HELP Committee will need to take up a number of Labor Department nominations next year, but it is also likely to hold oversight of various labor programs. It is also to likely continue its oversight of the Biden Administration’s COVID-19 response.

Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs – Chairman Gary Peters (D-MI) & Ranking Member Open

Sen. Peters will remain Chairman of the committee. The top Republican slot on the committee has been left open with the retirement of Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH). Potential candidates to replace him include Sen. Paul; however, if he were to claim that title on the Senate HELP Committee, that would leave Sen. James Lankford (R-OH) as the next most senior Republican on the committee.

The committee is likely to continue its works on bolstering U.S. defenses against cyberattacks and incidents of terrorism, in addition to handling nominations for key DHS positions. Members are also likely to focus on the Administration’s response at the southern border.

Senate Judiciary – Chairman Dick Durbin (D-IL) & Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-IA)

The Judiciary Committee retains its leadership structure in the next Congress with Sens. Durbin and Grassley. With Democrats retaining control of the Senate, the committee is likely to focus heavily on confirming new and existing judicial nominations, in addition to addressing tech and antitrust policies that have languished in the 117th Congress.

Senate Rules and Administration – Chairwoman Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) & Ranking Member Deb Fischer (R-NE)

Sen. Klobuchar remains the top Democrat on the committee. Sen. Fischer is replacing retiring Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) as the top Republican on the Rules Committee, which has become more active in recent years with efforts to advance legislation dealing with voting rights, campaign finance, and amendments to the Electoral Count Act.

Much of this legislation will likely be stalled in the next Congress if the Senate remains 50-50, as that also determines the partisan split amongst the committees. However, the committee may advance a bipartisan bill reforming the Electoral Count Act to prevent future violence that was demonstrated on January 6th.

Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship – Chairman Ben Cardin (D-MD) & Ranking Member Joni Ernst (R-IA)

Sen. Cardin will remain the Chairman of the Committee, while Sen. Ernst will likely replace Sen. Paul as the committee’s top Republican. The committee is likely to work on reauthorizing small business contract set-asides and assisting women-owned small businesses. Leaders are also likely to investigate fraud in various COVID-19 small business-related programs.

Senate Veterans’ Affairs – Chairman Jon Tester (D-MT) & Ranking Member Jerry Moran (R-KS)

The Veterans’ Affairs Committee is set to retain its same leadership structure next year, and like its House counterpart, will spend the bulk of its time overseeing the VA’s IT modernizations along with the implementation of this year’s bipartisan toxic burn pits legislation.