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Capitol Correspondence - 11.19.18

The Other “Don’t Miss” Election: Members of Congress Pick Their New Leaders

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In an update to last week’s article on Congressional leadership shuffles, ANCOR is sharing the most recent results of Congressional party caucus elections. These elections determine who will lead the party in the Senate and House, as well as who will lead key committees. Committee chairs decide their committees’ vote schedules, making them gatekeepers for any legislation that is introduced and as such, strategic advocacy targets. Many of those positions are still being decided, particularly in the Senate where Senators with more seniority are given fist pick of seats.

Pending Committee decisions, we invite you to check the resources below. If your member of Congress has obtained a leadership position, please reach out to Sarah Meek, Director of Legislative Affairs, at [email protected] to ask about topics with which to engage them.

In the Senate:

  • The caucus leader race settled smoothly as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) both won caucus re-election for their leadership roles.
  • Because of term limits, the remaining GOP Senate leadership positions changed hands, while the Democratic leadership team remains the same. The full Senate leadership list for both parties is available in this article, pending official Congressional websites being updated.
  • Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) will become Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, which oversees Medicaid. Senator Wyden (D-OR) remains the Ranking Member of that Committee. Ranking is the highest position on a Committee for the minority party – which is currently the Democrats.
    • Fun fact: Senator Grassley (R-IA) is also now3rd in the line of succession to the president, having replaced Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) as President Pro-Tempore of the Senate. He will be behind the Vice President and the Speaker of the House.

In the House Democratic caucus:

  • Elections for the role of Speaker are still pending, leaving the leadership future of current Minority Leader and past Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) unclear. Her opposition appears to have coalesced around U.S. Representative Marcia Fudge (D-OH). U.S. Representative Fudge has not decided whether she will challenge U.S. Representative Pelosi – although the two met for a 45-minute discussion on Friday. 16 House Democrats signed a letter opposing Nancy Pelosi. The internal Democratic vote will be on November 28, and the general floor vote on January 3. Nancy Pelosi will need 218 votes in the floor vote to win the Speakership.
  • Many discussions are underway for the remaining Democratic leadership positions. This article breaks down the remaining positions and the candidates.

In the House Republican caucus:

  • U.S. Representative McCarthy (R-CA) will be the Minority Leader, holding off a challenge by U.S. Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH).
  • U.S. Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana will retain his Whip job, having run uncontested.
  • U.S. Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming (R-WY) is the likely Conference Chairwoman. She could replace current Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, who is not seeking the position again.
  • U.S. Representative Mark Walker (R-NC) will be Conference Vice Chair.
  • Race for Policy Committee Chair: U.S. Representatives Gary Palmer (R-AL) and David Schweikert (R-AZ) are running against each other.
  • National Republican Congressional Committee chair: U.S. Representative Tom Emmer (R-MN) is running.

General election update: Kristen Sinema (D) won the election for U.S. Senator for the state of Arizona, and Rick Scott (R) won the election for U.S. Senator for the state of Florida. The only remaining U.S. Senate race is for the state of Mississippi, which is heading to a run-off election on November 27, 2018.