Both houses will experience significant changes in the 2019 committees with the House flipping control while the existing Republican Senate Majority will be looking to accommodate at least 5 new Senators to in 2019.
The Senate: The Senate Finance Committee will have a new Chair with the retirement of Senator Orin Hatch (R-UT). Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) is next in line based on committee seniority but Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) could give up his current Judiciary Committee chairmanship and take back over Finance. The Finance Committee will have to fill the valuable committee slots created by the departure of Senator Hatch and the defeat of Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) who lost his reelection bid. The current committee has 14 Republicans and 12 Democrats. Assuming the ratio is not adjusted up or down by one due to a change in the overall Senate Republican majority, the Majority Leader McConnell will have two vacancies to fill.
For Senate Democrats they will have one or a possible two departures with the defeat of Senator Claire McCaskill (R-MO) and pending the Florida recount, a potential second vacancy if Senator Bill Nelson is defeated.
Other key committee changes in the Senate when it comes to children and child welfare are not that numerous. The Appropriations Committee and the HELP Committees stay relatively the same with Senator Hatch leaving HELP. The most significant will be Judiciary especially if Senator Grassley gives up the chairmanship (but stays on committee). Senator Hatch and Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) will also leave this Committee leaving at least 2 vacancies. Perhaps more significant would be Senator Grassley’s giving up the chairmanship. That would move Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) into that slot just weeks after famously telling Committee Democrats during the Judge Brett Kavanagh hearings, “If I am chairman, next year, I’m going to remember this.”
The House: The story is much different:
• Ways and Means Committee (covering Title IV-E and Title IV-B child welfare, TANF, child care, Home Visiting, SSBG) Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX) loses the Chair to Congressman Richard Neal (D-MA),
o The current 25 to 16 makeup will change with Democrats (already having two vacancies with the departure of Congressman Joe Crowley -NY and Congressman Sander Levin-MI) now adding a likely eleven new members. Out of the current 25 Republicans, the five member departures of Senator-Elect Dianne Black (R-TN), Governor-Elect Kristi Noem (R-SD), Congressman Sam Johnson (R-TX), Congressman Dave Reichert (D-WA) and Congressman Jim Renacci (R-OH) are joined by the exodus of defeated members Congressman Mike Bishop (R-MI), Congressman Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), Congressman Erik Paulsen (R-MN) and Congressman Peter Roskam(R-IL).
• Energy and Commerce Committee (covering CHIP and Medicaid) Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) turns over control to Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ)
• Education and Workforce Committee (CAPTA, education, early childhood education, JJDPA) Congresswoman Virginia Fox (R-VA) steps down for Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA)
• Appropriations Committee: (all appropriations) Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) retires turning the chair to Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY). The Committee has 14 Republicans and 12 Democrats.
• Judiciary Committee: Congressman Robert Goodlatte (R-VA) retires and Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) takes over.
In addition to the change in chairmanships is the sea-change brought about by the fact that the two sides flip their numbers and there are dozens of departures due to election losses and significant retirements.
It is difficult to have a better picture of the various subcommittees especially the House Ways and Means Human Resources Subcommittees (which could have a name change) and which has direct oversight of child welfare. Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) will no longer be chair but he could even leave the subcommittee depending on what other subcommittees he wants as members reshuffle and shrink. The same is true on the Democratic side with Congressman Danny Davis (D-IL) the current ranking member. There will be at least a dozen new members on the overall committee and that will result in members switching subcommittees and some members will seek changes to capture one of at least five subcommittees.
There could also be changes in the number of subcommittees and there are certain to be members both in the majority and minority who will swap various committee assignments depending on their interests on taxes, trade, health, oversight and a few others. There are rumors Democrats may add a subcommittee on infrastructure.
The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor-HHS-Education may have some stability with Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Co-chair of the House Baby Caucus, likely keeping the opportunity to Chair the Subcommittee now. There could also be some interesting positioning for the minority Republicans. With Frelinghuysen leaving Congress the pre-election maneuvering and positioning to leading the overall committee was possibly coming down to Congresswoman Kay Granger (R-TX) a member who is sometimes seen as moderate versus Congressman Robert Aderholt (R-AL) who, most recently, recognized by child welfare advocates for his amendment to the last appropriations bill that would have allowed discrimination in child welfare placement and recruitment based on gender and LGBT identity.