Government affairs

Legislative Updates

Leadership in the 118th Congress

As a result of the midterm elections, party control of the House of Representatives will change in the 118th Congress. Republicans, who will control the chamber, have secured 222 seats to the Democrat’s 213. Both parties have elected their leaders for the new Congress that will convene next month. 

Republicans elected House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as their top leader. However, the Speaker of the House election will be held later this month, with all 435 representatives eligible to vote. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), the minority whip, was elected as majority leader. Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), was chosen to serve as majority whip. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) was elected as GOP conference chairwoman, and Rep Richard Hudson (R-NC) was elected to replace Rep. Emmer as NRCC chairman.

On the Democratic side, the party has elected new leaders and approved changes to its leadership structure. Following the midterm elections, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) announced that they would remain in Congress but not seek leadership positions, paving the way for what Democrats are calling a new generation of leaders.

Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) was elected by acclamation to lead Democrats as minority leader, making him the first Black person to lead a party in either chamber of Congress. Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA) was elected as minority whip and Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA) was elected as chairman of the Democratic caucus. Both were unanimously approved.

Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) was elected as assistant leader, a position that is now fourth in the leadership structure. He was unopposed after Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) dropped his bid for the position before the vote.

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) was elected to serve as caucus vice chair after four rounds of voting, defeating Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Joyce Beatty (D-OH), and Madeleine Dean (D-PA).

Structural changes to the caucus include approval for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) chair to be appointed by leadership, rather than elected by the caucus, and the creation of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee. Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO) was elected by acclimation as chairman of the new committee. The caucus established another new leadership position that focuses on assisting candidates in competitive reelection campaigns. Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) was elected to this role.

In the Senate, Democrats will remain in control with 51 seats to the Republicans 49. The party also reelected its top leaders. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) were both unanimously reelected. Assistant Democratic Leader Patty Murray (D-WA) was elevated to president pro tempore, replacing Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), who is retiring at the end of year.

Democrats added a deputy conference secretary position to their leadership structure, which will replace the position of assistant leader. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) was elected to this role.

Other returning leaders include Democratic Policy and Communications Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Steering Committee Chair Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Conference Vice Chairpersons Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Mark Warner (D-VA).

Republicans also reelected their top leaders. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) defeated Rick Scott (R-FL) to again serve in the party’s top Senate position. Sen. John Thune (R-SD) will continue serving as minority whip and Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) was reelected as Republican conference chairman.

Both chambers have also released their 2023 legislative calendars. 

Stay tuned to the “Government Affairs” section for more updates on the 118th Congress. 

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