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Musical chairs for Senate Dems

Shutterstock image:  Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

There will be some new faces on key Senate committees that affect feds, the technology industry and advocates of government management issues.

Although those Democrats won't be holding gavels, they will have considerable influence in the closely divided Senate, where compromise and accommodation are typically required more than in the Republican-dominated House.

In the 115th Congress, Republicans will control 51 Senate seats, with 48 controlled by Democrats and the two independents that caucus with them. One seat in Louisiana still needs to be decided in a runoff election.

In one big change, Tom Carper (D-Del.) is being moved from his perch on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) to take over as ranking member on the Environment and Public Works Committee.

Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) is the new ranking member of HSGAC. In the past, she has shown deep interest in federal contracting issues, including oversight of the troubled System for Award Management at the General Services Administration, contractor and federal employee security clearances, and the use of debarred contractors on government projects.

Jon Tester (D-Mont.), who led an HSGAC subcommittee, is taking over as ranking member of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee from Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.).

Mark Warner (D-Va.) will take over the important post of vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. He represents a more conservative pick than surveillance hawk Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who has significant seniority on the committee and has been active on a range of issues.

The committee’s former vice chairwoman, Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), will move into the ranking member slot on the Judiciary Committee. That position is being vacated by Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who will serve as ranking member of the powerful Appropriations Committee.

The Democrats also formally selected Charles Schumer of New York as their leader and expanded their leadership team to include new posts, including one for independent and former presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Nov 16, 2016 at 1:23 PM


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