While we are still awaiting the results of a handful of House seats too close to call, House Republicans are already negotiating leadership positions. The victories of incumbent Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto, (D-NV) , and Mark Kelly, (D-AZ) assure that the Democrats will maintain control of the Senate. The December 6 runoff election in Georgia between Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker will determine whether Democrats will govern with 51 seats or 50 — with the Vice President having the tie breaking vote..
The recent election will result in many changes in key committees for the scientific community.
On the House Appropriations Committee, Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), top Ranking Member Kay Granger (R-TX) are expected to stay in leadership roles, as is Tom Cole (R-OK),Ranking Member of the Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee –with jurisdiction over the National Institutes of Health (NIH)and the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). DeLauro currently leads both the full committee and the subcommittee. Four positions on the subcommittee will need to be filled to replace departing members. On the Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Subcommittee, with jurisdiction over the National Science Foundation (NSF), Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA) was able to keep his seat, as did Rep. Aderholt (R-AL) The two are expected to swap their positions if the Republicans have the majority. Senate spending panels will undergo major changes with the retirements of Senators Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT) and Richard C. Shelby (R-AL). It is looking likely that two women, Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) will replace them. Collins has been an outspoken supporter of NIH. With Murray stepping up to full committee and Blunt retiring, leadership of the Labor-HHS subcommittee will be up for grabs. Rumors are that Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) will move over to the Labor-HHS Subcommittee, leaving open the top Republican spot on CJS. The expectation is that Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) will maintain her spot as Chair of CJS.
Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK), a strong champion for NSF and a close collaborator of retiring Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), is expected to serve as Chair of the House Science Committee. Predictions are that either Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) or Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) will rise to serve as the new Ranking Member. No changes are expected to the leadership of the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee with jurisdiction over NIH. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee will see some change if Murray accepts the gavel for Appropriations. Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders is in line to succeed her. HELP ranking member Sen. Richard M. Burr (R-NC), is also retiring and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is on deck for the top Republican slot. However, he is also in line for the top job on the Homeland Security and Government Accountability Committee and it is unclear which he will choose.