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 CrapoScott Garrett poses real threat to EXIM Bank, small businesses Usually friendly, GOP may anger big banks with tax plans Overnight Finance: Trump calls for ObamaCare mandate repeal, cuts to top tax rate | Trump to visit Capitol Hill in tax reform push | CBO can't do full score before vote | Bipartisan Senate bill would ease Dodd-Frank rules 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 SessionsFederal judge rules Trump defunding sanctuary cities 'unconstitutional on its face' FBI informant gathered years of evidence on Russian push for US nuclear fuel deals, including Uranium One, memos show Alabama election has GOP racing against the clock MORE (R-Ala.), currently its ranking member, was slated to become chairman until Sen. Mike EnziMichael (Mike) Bradley EnziGOP senators ask Trump for meeting on biofuels mandate Senate budget just the latest attack on seniors Week ahead: GOP's next steps on tax reform | Fed chief speculation heats up | Senate to vote on disaster relief 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) SandersDe Blasio headed to Iowa to speak at political fundraiser Yes, spills happen — but pipelines are still the safest way to move oil Why sexual harassment discussions include lawmakers talking about Bill Clinton’s past 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 Moore CapitoOvernight Finance: Senate tax bill will include ObamaCare mandate repeal | Stock surge raises pressure for GOP to deliver tax reform | Ryan hints at short-term spending bill | House votes to overhaul federal flood insurance GOP senator: Congress may ‘stumble’ on paying for Trump's infrastructure plan Overnight Tech: Dems want FCC chair investigated over Sinclair merger | Google faces state antitrust probe | Qualcomm rejects Broadcom offer | Startups criticize plan to tax employees' stocks 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 LandrieuYou want to recall John McCain? Good luck, it will be impossible CNN producer on new O'Keefe video: Voters are 'stupid,' Trump is 'crazy' CNN's Van Jones: O'Keefe Russia 'nothingburger' video 'a hoax' 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.