Since the U.S. Senate’s makeup is still dependent on the Georgia special election on January 5, leadership at the committee level is still shaking out. Simultaneously, with the House returning with the same leadership on both sides, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) released the House schedule for 2021. 


There will not be changes in the Senate leaders with Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) still retaining their leadership roles; however, the Georgia race will decide who will be the Senate Majority Leader. The Republican status may also shape some Republican Committee assignments. Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) could become the next Senate Finance Committee chair as Senator Grassley (R-IA) steps aside due to party-imposed limits. If the Democrats are the majority party, then Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) will return as Finance Chair. Another key committee also undecided is the Senate HELP Committee, where Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) is retiring. Next in line is Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), but there could be controversy because of earlier year allegations about potential stock profits linked to what pandemic intelligence report information he knew about ahead of the public. Senator Burr has expressed his interest in the post. If the Republicans retain the majority and Burr does not become chair, it would likely be Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), next in line.


On the House side, the most significant change is within the House Appropriations Committee. 

Congresswoman and Chair Nita Lowey (D-NY) is retiring, and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) was selected as the next House Appropriations chair. She will also likely retain her chair of the Subcommittee on Labor-HHS-Education. The last time the Chair held both the full committee and the Labor-HHS Subcommittee was when Congressman David Obey (D-WS) was chair. DeLauro beat out Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL) and Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), the most seniority person with a 148-79 caucus-wide vote.


As far as the House calendar (which will likely be mirrored by the Senate). The new 117th Congress begins on Sunday, January 3, 2021. They will adjourn for the usual holidays of Martin Luther King in January (also inauguration week), the Presidents Day in February, the spring break around Easter and Passover at the bigging of April, Memorial Day, and the Fourth of July, and they will depart for the summer break on August 1 but return a few days before Labor Day and then have that week off. The House schedule also envisions votes all the way to December 10, with most of October and November working days.