118th Congress Kicks Off, with Committee Assignments Bringing New Faces to Education Research Policy and Funding
118th Congress Kicks Off, with Committee Assignments Bringing New Faces to Education Research Policy and Funding

February 2023

Members of the 118th Congress were sworn in during January, kicking off the legislative session. With several retirements and the change in party control in the House from Democrats to Republicans, new names and faces will be involved in several of the key congressional committees and appropriations subcommittees involved in federal education research and data infrastructure.

In the House, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) received a waiver and was subsequently selected to serve as chair of the House Education and Workforce Committee. She previously served as chair of that committee during the 115th Congress in 2017–18, and served as ranking member during 2019–22. Under House Republican rules, Foxx needed to receive a waiver due to her Republican leadership of the committee for three consecutive terms. Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), who served as chair of the committee in 2019–22, will be the committee’s ranking member.

Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK) will chair the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee. He served as ranking member of the committee during the previous Congress. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) will be serving as the ranking member of the committee, with the retirement of the former top committee Democrat Eddie Bernice Johnson. Lucas has noted his commitment to continue the committee’s history of bipartisan work.

The top leadership of the House Appropriations Committee switched, with Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX) taking over as chair and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) taking over as ranking member. There has been a shift among subcommittee chairs, as many were prohibited from continuing to hold their positions without waivers, which were not granted. The result was a new chair for the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) subcommittee, with Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL) taking over the chair and Republican leadership from Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK). As ranking member, DeLauro will continue serving as the top Democrat on the subcommittee. Aderholt moved to LHHS after leading the Republicans as ranking member of the Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) subcommittee. Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY) will be serving as the CJS subcommittee chair, with Matt Cartwright (D-PA) as ranking member.

Senate committees and subcommittee assignments were finalized in early February, with several key changes to leadership on education policy and funding due to retirements in the previous Congress. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) has become chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee replacing the retired Sen. Patrick Leahy. This move resulted in her stepping down as chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee (HELP) and as chair of the Senate LHHS appropriations subcommittee.  On LHHS, Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) will be serving as chair, while Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) will chair the HELP Committee.

The retirements of Richard Shelby (R-AL), Roy Blunt (R-MO), and Richard Burr (R-NC) opened up respective spaces on the full Senate Appropriations Committee, the LHHS subcommittee, and HELP. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) will serve as vice chair of the full Senate Appropriations Committee, with Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) serving as ranking member of the LHHS subcommittee. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), will serve as ranking member of the HELP Committee. Cassidy has drawn on his experience as a doctor in highlighting the importance of evidence-based and data-driven decision making in education.

For the most part, leadership on authorizing and appropriations committees with oversight of the National Science Foundation will remain the same. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) will remain chair of the Senate CJS appropriations subcommittee, with Sen. Jerry Moan (R-KS) remaining ranking member. On the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) will remain chair. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is serving as the new ranking member with the transition of former ranking member Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) to be ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.