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New 116th Congress Convenes


Yesterday, House and Senate members of the 116th Congress were sworn in for the opening of the new congress. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was voted in as the new Speaker of the House with 220 votes, and 13 Democrats voting against her and two voting present.

  • Additional Democratic House leadership: Steny Hoyer (D-MD) is Majority Leader; Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) is Minority Whip; Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) is the Assistant Democratic Leader; and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) is the Caucus Chair.
  • Speaker Paul Ryan's (R-WI) retirement opened changes in the House Republican leadership. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is the new Minority Leader; Rep Steve Scalise (R-LA) is the Minority Whip and Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) is the GOP Conference Chair.
  • Current Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) remains in his role, though six-year term limits caused a shuffling among other Senate party leadership. Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) is no longer in the position. John Thune (R-SD), who was chairman of the GOP conference, took Cornyn’s spot.
  • John Barrasso (R-WY) became conference chairman, a role that includes helping lead the Senate GOP communications effort. Roy Blunt (R-MO) moved from vice chairman of the conference into Sen. Barrasso’s prior job as chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee. Joni Ernst (R-IA) became the conference vice chairwoman.
  • Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) remains in the position, with senior roles below him also remaining the same, including Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL). Patty Murray (D-WA) was re-elected assistant Democratic leader and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) remains as the chairwoman of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee.
  • The new Congress is making history for seating a record number of women and becoming the most racially and ethnically diverse, with 127 women (106 Democrats and 21 Republicans) who will serve in the 116th Congress, holding nearly 24 percent of all seats.
  • This week Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced membership changes on the Environment and Public Works Committee for 2019. Freshmen Republican Sens. Mike Braun
    (R-IN) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND) will be new members. They will replace Sens. Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Jerry Moran (R-KS), who will no longer be on the panel.
  • Meanwhile, Republican Sens. Martha McSally (R-AZ) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) will join the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which will see the departure of Sens. Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV), Rob Portman (R-OH) and retired Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake.


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