Senator Max Baucus (D-MT, the longtime chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, was confirmed by the Senate on February 6 to be the next United States ambassador to China by a vote of 96-0.
Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) is expected to be named as the new Finance Committee chairman as soon as the week of February 10. Senator Wyden has already named who will fill senior staff positions on the committee.
The Finance Committee has jurisdiction over the U.S. tax code, including the housing policy issues of the mortgage interest deduction and thee low income housing tax credit. The United for Homes campaign is calling for modifications to the mortgage interest deduction in order to raise revenue to fund the National Housing Trust Fund. Senator Wyden has stated that overhaul of the tax code is his top priority.
Montana Governor Steve Bullock (D) announced on February 7 that he will appoint Montana Lieutenant Governor John Walsh (D) to fill Senator Baucus’ seat until November elections.