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New Committee Chairs and Caucus Leaders in the 111th Congress

January 9, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

(Cross-posted from Avelino Maestas at the Congresspedia blog)

With the 111th Congress in full swing (see Conor’s post on freshman members and Donny’s recent work on the first 10 bills in the Senate), we’re starting to see changes announced last year become formalized, such as the selection of committee chairs and ranking members in the House and Senate. With big policy debates on the horizon, you’ll also start to hear more about the caucus leadership.

Fortunately, Congresspedia has you covered. We detailed the leadership changes back in December, but we also have citizen-generated entries on the leadership in the House and Senate. These articles include background information on the various positions and links to profiles of individual senators and representatives.

We also have new information on House and Senate committee membership. House Democrats have announced where freshman members are headed, and Republicans in the House have selected members for a couple of key committees. You can find the most up-to-date rosters of committee members by starting at the 111th Congress page and clicking through to the article on each committee.

Doing so really shows how much of an impact the November election had on the Republican Party and its representation in Congress. For example, half of the GOP members on the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee either retired or were defeated in the 2008 election. If Sen. Norm Coleman® fails in his legal challenge and Democrat Al Franken is declared the winner of the Minnesota senate race, the ratio climbs to five of eight.

One can find a similar story by examining the House Ways and Means Committee, where 8 of 17 Republican members in the 110th Congress were no longer in office at the beginning of the 111th Congress. Six new members were selected this week, but new majority/minority ratios mean there will be two fewer Republicans on the committee this session.

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