When the 112th Congress convened January 5, majority control in the House of Representatives shifted to Republicans, bringing significant change to the makeup of that body. Republicans hold a 242-193 majority and elected Representative John Boehner (R-OH) as Speaker of the House. Former Speaker Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was elected as Minority Leader.
Other changes in leadership positions include Representative Eric Cantor (R-VA) as Majority Leader, the position previously held by Representative Steny Hoyer (D-MD), now Minority Whip. Representative James Clyburn (D-SC), Majority Whip in the 111th Congress, occupies the newly created position of Deputy Minority Leader.
The Committee on Financial Services, formerly chaired by Representative Barney Frank (D-MA), is chaired by Representative Spencer Bachus (R-AL). Representative Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) serves as Vice Chairman. Representative Judy Biggert (R-IL) takes over from Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA) as Chair of the subcommittee overseeing housing issues. The subcommittee’s jurisdiction has expanded to include insurance issues and is now called the Subcommittee on Insurance, Housing and Community Opportunity.
As for the House Committee on Appropriations, Representative Harold Rodgers (R-KY) assumes the chairmanship previously held by Representative David Obey (D-WI). The Subcommittee on Transportation, HUD and Related Agencies now is chaired by Representative Tom Latham (R-IA), a post previously held by Representative John Olver (D-MA).
The Committee on the Budget is chaired by Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI). Representative John Spratt (D-SC), who was defeated in the 2010 election, chaired the committee in the 111th Congress.
Although Republican and Democratic leaders have not completed committee assignments, Mr. Bachus has announced that the following members will join the Financial Services Committee: Representatives Francisco Canseco (R-TX), Robert Dold (R-IL), Sean Duffy (R-WI), Michael Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Michael Grimm (R-NY), Nan Hayworth (R-NY), Bill Huizenga (R-MI), Robert Hurt (R-VA), Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO), Steve Pearce (R-NM), Steve Stivers (R-OH) and Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA).
It is unlikely that additional Democrats will join the committee because their number of seats will shrink. The ratio of Republicans to Democrats on committees must reflect the House as a whole. Democratic seats could decrease by more than ten.
The start of the 112th Congress has brought less change to the Senate as Democrats remained in control. Senators Harry Reid (D-NV) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY) retained their positions as Majority and Minority Leaders, respectively. As in the House, committee assignments have not been finalized. However, the retirement of Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) means that Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) will chair the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.
House and Senate committee assignments likely will be finalized in the next two weeks.