Senate Democrats lock in key committee memberships

The congressional merry-go-round of committee changes continued on Friday with Senate Democrats locking in their choices for the 114th Congress. 

With Republicans set to take a 54-46 majority in the Senate next year, Democrats will lose a seat or two on each panel.

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Democrats are losing two seats seats on Appropriations, Banking, Budget and the Joint Economic Committee.

They are losing only one seat on Finance and Small Business.

In one of the more interesting moves, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will become the ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee.

Sanders is moving into the slot because Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) opted to take top Democrat's job on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee.

Sens. Bill Nelson (Fla.) and Chris Coons (Del.) are leaving the committee for other jobs. 

The powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, which was hard hit by a mix of retirements and election-year losses, is picking up three new members — Sens. Brian Schatz (Hawaii), Tammy Baldwin (Wis.) and Chris Murphy (Conn.).

Murphy tweeted that he is the first senator from Connecticut to serve on the committee in nearly 30 years. 

Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) is moving into the top Democratic slot after serving as the chairwoman of the panel. 

On the Senate Banking Committee, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) is taking over ranking member duties.

Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly is joining the panel and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is leaving for a seat on Senate Commerce.

Manchin signaled last month that he was willing to move off Senate Banking so Sen.-elect Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) could join the panel. 

Capito has spent time on the House Financial Services Committee during her tenure there.

Republicans are expected to release their committee memberships next week.

Senate Finance is standing pat, losing only retiring Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia. As expected, Chairman Ron Wyden of Oregon is sliding into the ranking member's seat next year. 

On the Joint Economic Committee, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) is movin into the ranking member's job while Sen.-elect Gary Peters of Michigan, who is coming from the House, is joining the panel. 

Murphy and Sanders are departing the committee. 

Finally, Sen. Ben Cardin (Md.) will become the top Democrat on the Small Business Committee, taking over for Sen. Maria Cantwell (Wash.), who is moving into the ranking slot on the Energy panel.  

The committee is welcoming three new members — Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Coons and Peters.