With just one race in each chamber still pending, we know that in the 118th Congress, Republicans will control the House with a slim majority, and Democrats will hold the Senate with either 50 or 51 votes. Republicans will field new chairs for every House committee. On the Senate side, with Democrats maintaining control, there will be only minor changes to committee leadership.
Both chambers have elected their party leadership. In the House Republican conference, Republicans have nominated Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) for Speaker of the House in a 188-31 vote, and have elected Steve Scalise (R-LA) for House Majority Leader, Tom Emmer (R-MN) for House Majority Whip, and Elise Stefanik (R-NY) for Republican Conference Chair. When the new Congress is sworn in on January 3, 2023, Mr. McCarthy must win a majority of the vote of the full House to be elected Speaker. Mr. McCarthy lost 31 votes in the Republican conference race for Speaker, and will have to win over the vast majority of these no votes to be elected by the full House in January.
This week, House Democrats elected a new generation of leaders. Approved by acclamation, Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) is the House Minority Leader, Katherine Clark (D-MA) is the House Minority Whip, and Pete Aguilar (D-CA) is the Democratic Caucus Chairman. Current House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) is moving into the position of Assistant Democratic Leader, the #4 leadership spot in the House Democratic Caucus. Democrats also named Nancy Pelosi “Speaker Emerita,” a role with no formal responsibilities but one in which Pelosi is expected to advise the new Democratic leadership.
There will not be any changes to senior caucus leadership in the Senate. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will continue as Majority Leader and Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) will continue as Majority Whip. Meanwhile, Senator Mitch McConnell will remain Minority Leader and Senator John Thune (D-SD) will remain Minority Whip. With Senator Patrick Leahy’s (D-VT) retirement, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) will assume the position of President Pro Tempore of the Senate, placing her third in line in the presidential succession.
In this chart, we set out likely and possible committee leadership scenarios for both chambers, based on public and nonpublic information sources, precedents, political dynamics, and the rules of each chamber and caucus. We also provide a brief preview of each committees’ priorities for the next two years.
Brian Smith, Michele Pearce, Ed McClellan, Brendan Parets, Stephanie Barna, Nicholas Xenakis, Kait Demers, Hensey Fenton, and Morgan Schreurs assisted in preparing this blog post.