Midterm Elections Set Stage for Changes on Key Committees for 118th Congress

November 2022

The results of the 2022 midterm elections resulted in a change in party control of the House, from Democrats to Republicans. Democrats retained control of the Senate, even with the Georgia Senate race still to be resolved between Democratic incumbent Rev. Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker. While committee and subcommittee chairs will not be finalized until after the 118th Congress convenes in January, retirements and the party shift in the House will result in several new faces in committee leadership of interest to education researchers.

In the House, the change in party will result in a shift between chairs and ranking members. For the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX) is expected to take over as chair, with Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) shifting to ranking member. DeLauro is also expected to retain Democratic leadership of the House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee. Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), currently the ranking member of the LHHS subcommittee, would need a waiver to chair, given that he has served as the Republican leader of the subcommittee for six years. Pending changes among the subcommittee chairs, Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL) and Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA) are currently in line to maintain their leadership on the Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) Appropriations Subcommittee.

A waiver would need to be provided for Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) to be chair of the House Education and Labor Committee, since she has also served as the Republican leader of the committee for six years. Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) is expected to shift from chair to ranking member of the committee.

Alongside the party shift that positions Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK) to move from ranking member to chair of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, current chair and key science champion Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) is retiring at the end of the 117th Congress, opening the space for a new Democratic leader of the committee.  

In the Senate, with the retirements of Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), there will be new leadership on the Appropriations Committee, with Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) expected to chair and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) to serve as the ranking member. Unclear is whether Murray will retain her current leadership in chairing the Senate LHHS appropriations subcommittee, as well as who will serve as the ranking member with the retirement of current ranking member Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO). With the changes across the Senate appropriations committee, the CJS subcommittee, currently led by Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) as chair and Jerry Moran (R-KS) as ranking member, could also see new leadership.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee will also see a change in leadership with the shift of Murray to the Appropriations Committee and the retirement of current ranking member Richard Burr (R-NC). Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) is expected to chair the HELP Committee and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) is expected to take over as ranking member.

On the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, which has responsibility for the National Science Foundation, Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) is expected to remain as chair, though the ranking member position will be open, with current ranking member Roger Wicker (R-MS) expected to take over as ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is next in line to serve as the top Republican on the Commerce Committee.