Early Movement in the 116th Congress

You are here

Release Date: 
Friday, January 18, 2019

On January 3, members of the 116th Congress were sworn in.  The Democratic Party took control of the House of Representatives. As a result, the leadership of all House committees has changed. In some cases the former ranking member from the Democrats has simply assumed the leadership, but there are further changes to report, primarily due to member retirements and unsuccessful election bids.
The House Appropriations Committee will now be chaired by Nita Lowey (D-NY-17) with Kay Granger (R-TX) taking over as Republican ranking member, after Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ-11) did not seek reelection. The subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies will be chaired by José Serrano (D-NY15) and the ranking member position was taken by Robert Aderholt (R-AL-04), after John Culberson (R-TX-7), who had shown significant support for civil legal aid, was not reelected in November. 

The incoming House appropriations leadership has been active even during the government shutdown. On January 8, Rep. Lowey introduced a bill that was subsequently passed by the House which would provide funding to support recovery efforts after Hurricanes Florence, Michael, and Lane, as well as Typhoons Yutu and Mangkhut. The bill contains $15 million for LSC, and unlike other recent disaster supplemental appropriations, the funding would not be limited to mobile resources, technology, and disaster coordinators for pro bono volunteers.   
The House Judiciary Committee will now be chaired by Jerry Nadler (D-NY-10), with Doug Collins (R-GA-9) as ranking member after the retirement of Bob Goodlatte (R-VA-6). The House Committee on Education and Labor will be led by Bobby Scott (D-VA-3), who as ranking member last year introduced the Aim Higher Act that would protect the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. 

There has been less change in the Senate, where Republicans retained the majority and therefore committee control. However, following the retirement of Thad Cochran (R-MS) for health reasons in 2018, the Appropriations Committee is chaired by Richard Shelby (R-AL) for the full term of the 116th Congress. Senator Shelby was chair of the subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies when it proposed a $25 million increase for the LSC after the Trump administration has proposed eliminating the agency. Jerry Moran (R-KS) now chairs that subcommittee. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) remain ranking members on the Appropriations Committee and subcommittee respectively.