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Kamalaharris

Kamala Harris

Democrats officially took control of Senate committees on Feb. 3, two weeks after the swearing in of Vice President Kamala Harris tipped the scales of the Senate and prompted a chamber switch. The delay in transfer of control was due to the debate over an organizing resolution in which, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had to determine how power would be shared in a Senate that is split 50-50.  

Because of the chamber switch, top republicans went from being chairs of committees to being ranking members, and top democrats moved from ranking membership to chairs. For most committees this was simply a turnover in power, but several Senate committees will be under new leadership for the 117th Congress. 

Committee on the Judiciary 

The Senate Committee on the Judiciary is one of the most influential Senate committees, currently debating the constitutionality of impeachment proceedings of former President Donald Trump. Those who run the committee wield a great deal of power. In the 116th Congress the committee was chaired by Sen. Lindsey Graham, with Sen. Dianne Feinstein serving as Ranking Minority Member.  

Prior to the results of the January Senate races that prompted the chamber switch, Feinstein announced she would be stepping down as Ranking Member following questions surrounding her handling of Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearing. After the chamber flip, there was much speculation about who would lead the committee. Ultimately, Sen. Dick Durbin, the number two ranking Democrat on the committee, was announced as chair of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary for the 117th Congress. Durbin said he plans to work on confirming President Joe Biden‘s cabinet choices, enforcing consequences for the Jan. 6 attacks on the Capitol, and work to reform the justice and immigration system in the new Congress.   

Graham handed his chairmanship to Sen. Chuck Grassley ahead of the chamber switch. Grassley had previously chaired the Judiciary Committee, but left the position to briefly serve as chair on the Senate Committee on FinanceGrassley is the more senior member of the committee. After the chamber flip this became an exchanging of the ranking member position, rather than the chairmanship, but nonetheless, Grassley will lead the Republican party for the Judiciary Committee for the 117th Congress.  

Staff Changes: On the majority side, Madeline Alagia has departed the committee for the 117th Congress.

Committee on Finance 

With Grassley departing the Finance Committee to return as the top Republican for the Judiciary Committee, a vacancy was created in the top Republican spot for one of the most powerful Senate committees. Months prior to determining what party would hold power of the Senate, it was all but determined that Sen. Mike Crapo would take the top Republican spot in the Senate Finance Committee. Notably ranked as one of the most conservative members in the Republican party, Crapo will now have influence over issues such as taxation, Medicare, social security, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.  

Sen. Ron Wyden will remain in the top Democratic spot of the Senate Committee on Finance for the 117th Congress, now a Chairmanship rather than a Ranking Membership, but another notable change on the Committee was the addition of Sen. Elizabeth Warren. The Massachusetts Senator and former presidential Candidate is known for her liberal policy choices and outspoken demeanor, so her membership on the committee could prove to shake up proceedings for the new Congress.  

Staff Changes  

Majority: 

  • Shawn Bishop – Chief Health Advisor 
  • Patricio Gonzalez – Senior Investigator,  
  • Greta Peisch departed the committee this congress to serve as General Counsel of the USTR 

Minority:   

  • Gregg Richard – Staff Director,  
  • Jeff Wrase – Deputy Staff Director/Chief Economist 
  • Mike Quickel – Policy Director 
  • Andre Barnett – Senior Tax Counsel 
  • Courtney Connell – Senior Tax Counsel 
  • Catherine Fuchs – Senior Counsel 
  • Brandon Beall – Senior Advisor 
  • Jen Deci – Senior Advisor 
  • Matt Jones – Senior Counsel 
  • Jamie Cummins – Tax Counsel 
  • Kellie McConnell – Health Policy Director 
  • Brett Baker – Deputy Health Policy Director 
  • Erin Dempsey – Deputy Health Policy Director 
  • Stuart Portman – Senior Health Policy Advisor 
  • Lexi Hall – Policy Advisor 
  • Lincoln Foran – Policy Advisor 
  • Jon O’Hara – Trade Policy Director 
  • Mayur Patel – Chief International Trade Counsel 
  • Jen Deci – Senior Advisor 
  • Matt Jones – Senior Counsel 
  • James Guiliano – Policy Advisor 
  • Amanda Critchfield – Communications Director  

Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs 

As Crapo takes on a new role on the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. Pat Toomey will take over the top Republican spot on the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. The Pennsylvania Senator first joined the committee in 2011 and will now have greater control over issues such as banking, export controls, public housing, and mass transit systems.  

This change is coupled with several other shifts within the committee. Sens. Bill HagertyCynthia Lummis, and Steve Daines will join the Republicans on the committee, while Sens. Tom Cotton and Ben Sasse will not rejoin the Republicans on the committee. Sens. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock will join the Democrats on the committee as Sen. Brian Schatz does not return. Democrats also lost former Sen. Doug Jones who lost reelection in the 2020 elections cycle . 

New staff roles are currently being researched.

Committee on Energy and Natural Resources  

Sen. John Barrasso will focus more of his time on the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources in the 117th Congress as he moves to the top Republican spot on the committee. The new Ranking Member, who originally joined the committee in 2007, will succeed Sen. Lisa Murowski. Sen. Roger Marshall will join the Republican members of the committee, as former Sens. Corey Gardner, Martha McSally, and Lamar Alexander depart. McSally and Gardner failed to win reelection, and Alexander chose not to run for reelection in the 2020 election cycle.  

Newly elected Sens. Mark Kelly and John Hickenlooper will join Democrats on the committee for their first term in office, and Sen. Debbie Stabenow will not be returning to the committee for the 117th Congress.  

Staff Changes

Minority:

  • Richard Russel – Staff Director 
  • Brian Clifford – Deputy Staff Director 
  • Justin Memmott – Deputy Staff Director for Energy 
  • John Tanner – Deputy Staff for Lands 
  • Matt Leggett – Chief Counsel 
  • Mike Danylak – Communications Director 
  • Stephan Eule – Senior Professional Staff 
  • James Wilson – Counsel 
  • Kate Farr – Counsel 
  • Jake McCurdy – Professional Staff 
  • Avery Douglas – Junior Counsel 
  • Sarah Durdaller – Press Secretary 
  • Derek Fisher – Legislative Assistant 
  • Craig Thomas – Legislative Assistant 
  • Leah Schaefer – Research Assistant 
  • David Gardner – Research Assistant

Here’s a table for further committee changes.

Committee NameIncomingOutgoingStaff Changes
Committee on Environment and Public WorksRanking Member Shelley Capito Moore (R-WV)Chair John Barrasso (R-WY)Majority:
-Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)-Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)-Rachel Levitan, Communications Director
-Mark Kelly (D-AZ)-Cory Booker (D-NJ)-Greg Dotson, Chief Counsel
-Alex Padilla (D-CA)-Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)– Caroline Jones Promoted to Legislative Aide
-Lindsey Graham (R-SC)-Mike Rounds (R-SD)– Mark Mendehall left the Committee
-Cynthia Lummis (R-WY)-Mike Braun (R-IN) -Mackie McIntosh, USACE Detailee,
Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and ForestryRanking Member John Boozman (R-AR)Chair Pat Roberts (R-KS)-Martha Scott Poindexter, Staff Director
-Mike Braun (R-IN)-David Perdue (R-GA)– Matt Erickson and Rob Rosado departed the committee.
-Cory Booker (D-NJ)-Kelly Loeffler(R-GA)
-Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM)
-Raphael Warnock (D-GA)
Committee on Appropriations-Martin Heinrich (D-NM)-Tom Udall (D-NM)New staff roles are currently being researched
-Mike Braun (R-IN)-Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
-Bill Hagerty (R-TN)-Steve Daines (R-MT)
-James Lankford (R-OK)
Committee on Armed Services-Tommy Tuberville (R-AL)-David Perdue (R-GA)
-Jacky Rosen (D-NV)-Martha McSally (R-AZ)-John Wason, Staff Director
-Mark Kelly (D-AZ)-Doug Jones (D-AL)
-Martin Heinrich (D-NM)
Committee on the BudgetRanking Member Lindsey Graham (R-SC)-Mike Enzi (R-WY)Majority:
-Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM)-Kamala Harris (D-CA)-Bill Dauster, Chief Counsel
-Alex Padilla (D-CA)-David Perdue (R-GA)-Ihna Mangundayao, Emily Rampone, and Sophie Kasimow, departed the committee
-Ben Sasse (R-NE)
-Mitt Romney (R-UT)Minority:
– Becky Cole, Budget Policy Director
-Doug Dziak departed the committee
Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation-Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM)-Corey Gardner (R-CO)Min – Emily Taylor Comms Director, Alexis DeJarnette Deputy Comms Director, Anderson Helton Research Assistant
-John Hickenlooper (D-CO)-Tom Udall (D-NM)
-Raphael Warnock (D-GA)
-Cynthia Lummis (R-WY)
Committee on Foreign Relations-Brian Schatz (D-HI)-Tom Udall (D-NM)Min – Chris Socha Staff Director, Andy Olson Deputy Staff Director, Matt Sullivan General Counsel, Suzanne Wrasse Communications Director, Anna Devanny Press Secretary
-Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)-David Perdue (R-GA)
-Mike Rounds (R-SD)-Corey Gardner(R-CO)
-Bill Hagerty (R-TN)-Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and PensionsRanking Member Richard Burr (R-NC)-Doug Jones (D-AL)New staff roles are currently being researched
-Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM)-Johnny Isakson (R-GA)
-John Hickenlooper (D-CO)-Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
-Roger Marshall (R-KS)-Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
-Tommy Tuberville (R-AL)-Mike Enzi (R-WY)
-Jerry Moran (R-KS)
Committee on Rules and Administration-Jeff Merkley (D-OR)-Tom Udall (D-NM)Majority:
-Alex Padilla (D-CA)-Lamar Alexander (R-TN)-Matthew Shapanka, Chief Counsel
-Jon Ossoff (D-GA)-Dick Durbin (D-IL)
-Bill Hagerty (R-TN)-Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-NV)
-Pat Roberts (R-KS)
Committee on Small Business and EntrepreneurshipRanking Member Rand Paul (R-KY)-Mitt Romney (R-UT)New staff roles are currently being researched
-John Hickenlooper (D-CO)
-Roger Marshall (R-KS)
Committee on Veterans’ AffairsRanking Member Jerry Moran (R-KS)Chair Johnny Isakson (R-GA)New staff roles are currently being researched
-Maggie Hassan (D-NH)-Kelly Loeffler (R-GA)
-Tommy Tuberville (R-AL)
Special Committee on AgingRanking Member Tim Scott (R-SC)-Mark Kelly (D-AZ)Minority:
-Doug Jones (D-AL)-Raphael Warnock (D-GA)-Neri Martinez, Staff Director
-Martha McSally (R-AZ)-Mike Lee (R-UT)-Sarah Khasawinah, Deputy Staff Director
-Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ)
-Josh Hawley (R-MO)
Select Committee on Ethics-Deb Fischer (R-NE)-Johnny Isakson (R-GA)New staff roles are currently being researched
-Pat Roberts (R-KS)
Select Committee on IntelligenceRanking Member Marco Rubio-Kamala Harris (D-CA)New staff roles are currently being researched
-Bob Casey (R-PA)
-Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs-Alex Padilla (D-CA)Majority:
– Jon Ossoff (D-GA)-Andrew Paeffgen, USACE Detailee
-Jen Huang, GAO Detailee
-Alexa Noruk departed as Director of Homeland and has not yet been replaced
Grace Burton

Grace Burton

Research Analyst