Senate GOP announces new committee assignments

Senate GOP leaders on Monday announced their conference's new committee assignments for the next Congress, when Republicans will officially add to their numbers in the upper chamber and take control of oversight panels.
 
With Republicans in the majority next year, the GOP will have a 54-46 advantage in the Senate, thereby providing them with extra seats on committees. Democrats had a 55-45 advantage in the Congress that’s about to wrap up, so they occupied more slots than Republicans on each panel.
 
Republicans will gain two seats on the following committees: Agriculture; Appropriations; Armed Services; Banking; Budget; Commerce; Energy; Environment and Public Works; Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP); Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs; Indian Affairs; and Rules and Administration.
 
Republicans will also gain two seats on the Joint Economic Committee and the Senate Special Committee on Aging.
 
They will gain one seat on: Finance, Foreign Relations, Intelligence, Judiciary, Small Business and Veterans Affairs.
 
The Committee on Committees, led by Sen. Mike CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean CrapoLobbyist whose wife rented to Pruitt steps down Americans are set for relief from an Obama-era financial rule Watchdog files complaint GOP senator did not report fundraisers held at condo co-owned by lobbyist’s wife MORE (R-Idaho), was responsible for the committee assignments.
 
At the beginning of next year, Senate Republicans will have to ratify all of the committee assignments. Republican members on each panel will then select their respective chairman and then those chairmen will have to be approved by the GOP conference.
 
The only race hanging in the balance is for the Budget Committee gavel. Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsPress: Why does Scott Pruitt still have a job? DOJ announces M grant to cover costs associated with Parkland shooting ‘Morning Joe’ host: Trump tweeting during Barbara Bush funeral ‘insulting’ to US MORE (R-Ala.), currently its ranking member, was slated to become chairman until Sen. Mike EnziMichael (Mike) Bradley EnziTerminating Budget Committees not as absurd as it sounds America's budget deficit is a ticking time bomb Abolishing Budget Committee hits a symptom, not the disease MORE (R-Wyo.) decided to jump into the race.
 
Enzi holds more seniority on the panel because of lots they both drew when they entered the Senate in 1997. The lots said that, if they both joined the same committee in the same year, Enzi would have the upper hand. They both joined the Budget Committee in 2003.
 
Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersOvernight Finance: Treasury mulls sanctions relief for Russian aluminum firm | Trump floats tying NAFTA talks to border security | 14 states hit record-low unemployment Kamala Harris will no longer accept corporate PAC money Judd Gregg: Who wins with Paul Ryan's departure? MORE (I-Vt.) was selected late last week to become the Budget panel’s ranking member next year.
 
The announced assignments weren't much of a surprise except that Sen.-elect Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoFamily, friends mourn death of Barbara Bush Lawmakers propose boosting park funding with oil money Lawmakers trade barbs, torch Trump at DC soiree MORE (R-W.Va.) did not earn a spot on the Banking Committee. She previously served on the House Financial Services panel and is an ally of the banking industry.
 
Sen.-elect Bill Cassidy (R-La.), who defeated incumbent Sen. Mary LandrieuMary Loretta LandrieuSenate GOP rejects Trump’s call to go big on gun legislation Project Veritas at risk of losing fundraising license in New York, AG warns You want to recall John McCain? Good luck, it will be impossible MORE (D-La.) in the Senate runoff earlier this month, won a spot on the HELP Committee.
 
Earlier this month, Cassidy proclaimed that dismantling ObamaCare will be his top priority in the 114th Congress, which is scheduled to convene on Jan. 6.

— Vicki Needham, Kevin Cirilli and Sarah Ferris contributed.