117th Congress Convenes with Changes in Committee Leadership and Membership

January 2021

With the backdrop of an attempted insurrection and a pending switch in control of the Senate, members of the 117th Congress were sworn in and have begun their work. On January 20, Democrats officially gained control of the Senate with the swearing in of three new members—Jon Ossoff (D-GA), Alex Padilla (D-CA), and Raphael Warnock (D-GA). With a 50–50 split, Vice President Kamala Harris will have the deciding vote when there are ties.

The Senate is developing its operating procedures with the even split, and committee appointments of new senators are forthcoming. With the switch of Senate control, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) will become chair of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, with the ranking member position vacant (as of press) after the retirement of former Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN). Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) will chair the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee; Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) is expected to serve as ranking member.

On the Senate Appropriations Committee, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) will become chair, with Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) serving as vice chair. Sen. Murray is expected to become chair of the subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education (LHHS), with Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) expected to become ranking member. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) is expected to chair the subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS), with Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) serving as ranking member.

In the House, new members have been appointed to committees with jurisdiction over agencies supporting education research and statistics.

The following members will be new to the House Appropriations Committee.

  • Rep. Ben Cline (R-VA)
  • Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY)
  • Rep. Mike Garcia (R-CA)
  • Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX)
  • Rep. Josh Harder (D-CA)
  • Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-IA)
  • Rep. Susie Lee (D-NV)
  • Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA)
  • Rep. David Trone (D-MD)
  • Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-IL)
  • Rep. David Valadao (R-CA)
  • Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-VA)

Reps. Harder and Brenda Lawrence (D-MI) will join as new members of the LHHS subcommittee; Reps. Lawrence and Trone will join the CJS subcommittee. Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) has also been named to serve on the CJS subcommittee. Republican appointments to subcommittees have not been named at press.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) has taken over as chair of the full House Appropriations Committee with the retirement of former Rep. Nita Lowey and will also retain her role as chair of the LHHS subcommittee. Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX) will serve as ranking member. Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) will remain ranking member of the LHHS subcommittee. Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA) will be chair of the CJS subcommittee, with Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL) continuing as ranking member.

The following new members have been appointed to the House Education and Labor Committee:

  • Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY)
  • Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC)
  • Rep. Scott Fitzgerald (R-WI)
  • Rep. Bob Good (R-VA)
  • Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA)
  • Rep. Diana Harshbarger (R-TN)
  • Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-NY)
  • Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez (D-NM)
  • Rep. Kathy Manning (D-NC)
  • Rep. Lisa McClain (R-MI)
  • Rep. Mary Miller (R-IL)
  • Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA)
  • Rep. Frank Mrvan (D-ID)
  • Rep. Burgess Owens (R-UT)
  • Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-IN)
  • Rep. Michelle Steel (R-CA)

In addition, three non-freshman members were appointed to the Education and Labor Committee, Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX), Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), and Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-NY). While the leadership of the full committee remains unchanged, the retirement of former Rep. Susan Davis created an opening for the leadership spot on the subcommittee covering higher education that has not yet been filled.

The following new members have been appointed to the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee:

  • Rep. Stephanie Bice (R-OK)
  • Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY)
  • Rep. Randy Feenstra (R-IA)
  • Rep. Carlos Gimenez (R-FL)
  • Rep. Young Kim (R-CA)
  • Rep. Jake LaTurner (R-KS)
  • Rep. Peter Meijer (R-MI)
  • Rep. Jay Obernolte (R-CA)
  • Rep. Deborah Ross (D-NC)
  • Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX)
  • Rep. Dan Webster (R-FL)

The leadership of the full committee remains unchanged, as Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) remains chair and Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK) will remain ranking member.