Democratic leaders in the House and Senate have finalized their picks for who will take the helm of committees in their respective chambers in the new year. Many lawmakers will be returning to their positions, but a few changes in leadership are anticipated.
In the Senate, the Energy and Natural Resources Committee will be soon be chaired by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR). Wyden currently chairs the Public Lands and Forest Subcommittee. He will replace retiring Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), who has served as the lead Democrat on the committee for 14 years. Two incoming freshman will join the panel: Martin Heinrich of New Mexico and Mazie Hirono of Hawaii.
The Senate Budget Committee, which is responsible for formulation of the annual budget for the federal government, will be chaired by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA). Current chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) is retiring this year. Three freshmen will join the committee: Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Tim Kaine of Virginia, and Angus King of Maine.
Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI) will continue to chair the Appropriations Committee, which determines annual spending allocations for federal agencies and programs. Senators Tom Udall (D-NM), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) will fill three vacancies on the committee.
The Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee will still be led by Senator John Rockefeller IV (D-WV). Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) will join the committee.
Senate Agriculture will get two new members despite no change in leadership. Senators-elect Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Donnelly of Indiana will take open slots. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) will continue to serve as chair.
Lastly, the Environment and Public Works Committee is not expected to have any new Democratic members. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) is expected to remain as chairman, although she could soon have the possibility to take the helm of Foreign Relations. Senator John Kerry (D-MA), who currently chairs that committee, is a leading candidate to become the next Secretary of State. Boxer is the next most senior Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee.
The House appropriations panel will have a new ranking member, Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY). Lowey faced a tough battle within the Democratic caucus for the position, beating Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) to become the first women to lead the committee. Two other Democrats will join the committee: Reps. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and Henry Cuellar (D-TX).
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) will serve a second term as the top Democrat on the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee. Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA) will also return as the ranking Democrat on the Natural Resources Committee. Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN) will stay on as the Ranking Member on House Agriculture. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) will continue as Ranking Member on Energy and Commerce Committee.
House Republicans announced their committee leadership in November. Read a summary at http://www.aibs.org/public-policy-reports/20121203.html#032729. Senate Republicans have not yet made any announcements.
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