Although the new Congress starts this week, some of the key committee decisions were taking shape in the old Congress. An official announcement on committee changes will be made sometime this week.
The all-important Senate Finance Committee had 13 Democrats and 11 Republicans. With the new Congress the powerful committee will now have 26 members instead of the current twenty-four. As a result the Democratic losses will be held to one, going down to 12 (Rockefeller retirement) but the Republicans will add three new seats. No current Republican is leaving but Senator Dan Coates (R-IN), Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) and Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) will join the committee. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) goes from Ranking Member to Chair with Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) is becoming the minority leader on the Committee. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) will be chaired by Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), and his Democratic counterpart is expected to be Senator Patty Murray (D-WA).
On the House side most significant is the change in the Ways and Means Committee. Congressman David Camp R-MI) retired at the end of the 113th Congress and as a result Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WS) is giving up his role as chair of the Budget Committee to become chair of the all-powerful Ways and Means Committee. Congressman Sander Levin (D-MI) will continue as the Ranking Member of the full Committee. It is also expected that there will be a change on the key Human Resources Subcommittee as Congressman Charles Boustany (R-LA) takes over from Congressman Dave Reichert. The House Education and Workforce Committee will continue with Congressman John Kline (R-MN) in the lead, with Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA) as the new Ranking Member. Kline needed a waiver from the Republican leadership since Republicans have imposed term limits on various chairmanships; the Democrats are changing because Congressman George Miller (D-CA) has retired. That committee has oversight of the reauthorization of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) and the JJDPA