As the House and Senate continue to organize committees, organizing resolutions needed to constitute each party’s membership on Senate committees may still get votes this week, but Republicans first have to resolve an intraparty issue over two senators from the same state trying to serve on the same committee. Senate Republican Conference precedent prohibits senators from the same state from serving on a committee together without one getting a waiver. Senator Eric Schmitt (R-Missouri) is seeking a waiver to be seated on the Judiciary Committee along with fellow Missouri Republican Senator Josh Hawley, who served on the panel in the last Congress. It is possible that vote on committees still could happen this week, with final committee membership potentially being released on Friday. Due to their reliance on Vice President Kamala Harris to break ties, Democrats didn’t hold a majority of seats on Senate committees during the last Congress despite controlling the chamber and committee chairs. But thanks to John Fetterman (D) winning in Pennsylvania, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) now has the ability to place a majority of Democrats on each committee, and through that, the ability to win party-line votes on subpoenas and other oversight functions. These powers can ensure the vast executive branch apparatus is fully staffed and carrying out its intended functions, and allow Senate Democrats to crack down on failings by the executive branch while advancing the Biden agenda.
In the House, the ratio of Democrat to Republican on the committees will be basically the same as the previous Congress, just with the majorities flipped, however the composition of a few committees will make for a fight. This week, Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-California) has announced the membership of the following committees:
House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition between the U.S. and the Chinese Communist Party
Select Subcommittees on the Weaponization of the Federal Government and the Coronavirus Pandemic
For today, the Senate reconvened at 10:00 A.M. and following Leader remarks, the Senate will be in a period of morning business with Senators permitted to speak therein for up to 10 minutes each. Roll call votes are possible during Wednesday’s session.
The House met at 10:00 A.M. for morning hour and noon for legislative business and is expected to consider eight bills under Suspension of the Rules.