Key Senate committees with jurisdiction over research and science education will have new members in the next session of Congress, which starts in January.
The Appropriations Committee, which allocates federal funding, will experience significant changes to its membership. Senators Dan Coats (R-IN) and Mike Johanns (R-NE) are leaving for other committee assignments. Some have interpreted these departures as a sign of the diminishing status of appropriators in Congress. Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Tim Johnson (D-SD) retired. Senators Mark Begich (D-AK), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), and Mark Pryor (D-AR) were not reelected. Four freshman Senators will join the committee: Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), James Lankford (R-OK), and Steve Daines (R-MT). Three returning Senators will also join the panel: Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Christopher Murphy (D-CT), and Brian Schatz (D-HI). As anticipated, Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS) will lead the committee, with Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) serving as the top Democrat.
Senator John Thune (R-SD) will chair the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, with Bill Nelson (D-FL) serving as Ranking Member. The committee will have seven new members. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Tom Udall (D-NM) have joined the committee, as well as freshmen Senators Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Steve Daines (R-MT), and Gary Peters (D-MI). Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Dan Coats (R-IN), and Tim Scott (R-SC) are departing the committee, which has jurisdiction over policy at the National Science Foundation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Senators John Rockefeller (D-WV) and John Walsh (D-MT) did not seek reelection and Senators Mark Begich and Mark Pryor were defeated in the mid-term elections.
The Energy and Natural Resources Committee will welcome Senators-elect Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Steve Daines (R-MT), and Cory Gardner (R-CO), as well as Senators Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Angus King (I-ME), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Dean Heller (R-NV), Brian Schatz (D-HI), and Tim Scott (R-SC) received new committee assignments and will not be returning. Three other members are not returning to Congress, including current chair Mary Landrieu (D-LA). Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) will chair the committee next year and Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) will serve as Ranking Member.
The committee with jurisdiction over the Environmental Protection Agency will have three new members. The Environment and Public Works Committee will retain familiar faces in its top spots. Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) will chair the committee and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) will serve as the top Democrat. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Mike Rounds (R-SD), and Dan Sullivan (R-AK) will be new members on the committee. Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) will not return to the panel.
The Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee will be led by Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), with Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) as Ranking Member. Senator Mike Johanns (R-NE) is leaving the committee and Senators Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Tom Harkin (D-IA), and John Walsh (D-MT) did not seek reelection. New members include freshmen Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA), David Perdue (R-GA), Ben Sasse (R-NE), and Thom Tillis (R-NC).
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