Senate GOP readies for leadership reshuffle

Senate Republicans are preparing for a shuffling of committee chairmen and some changes in the upper ranks of Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPatagonia says to shut stores for a few hours during Global Climate Strike Overnight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Pelosi unveils signature plan to lower drug prices | Trump says it's 'great to see' plan | Progressives pushing for changes On The Money: House votes to avert shutdown, fund government through November | Judge blocks California law requiring Trump tax returns | Senate panel approves three spending bills MORE’s (R-Ky.) leadership team.

Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneThe Hill's Morning Report - Pompeo condemns Iran for 'act of war' while Trump moves with caution Hillicon Valley: Zuckerberg to meet with lawmakers | Big tech defends efforts against online extremism | Trump attends secretive Silicon Valley fundraiser | Omar urges Twitter to take action against Trump tweet NRA says Trump administration memo a 'non-starter' MORE (R-S.D.) is expected to be elected as Republican whip, the No. 2 position in the conference, when GOP lawmakers meet to vote on their new team at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday in the Old Senate Chamber. 

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Thune will replace Sen. John CornynJohn CornynZuckerberg woos Washington critics during visit Paul objection snags confirmation of former McConnell staffer GOP signals unease with Barr's gun plan MORE (R-Texas), who is facing a term limit as whip. Cornyn will retain his position through the lame-duck session and then take a role as a counselor to McConnell’s leadership team next year, allowing him to remain a participant in leadership strategy sessions. 

It’s a major promotion for Thune, who GOP senators say is one of the most effective communicators in the conference, and it could put him in a position to run for Senate Republican leader in the future. 

McConnell, however, shows no signs of stepping down anytime soon and told reporters last week that he will run for reelection in 2020. 

Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoTo stave off a recession, let's pass a transportation infrastructure bill Overnight Defense: GOP wary of action on Iran | Pence says US 'locked and loaded' to defend allies | Iran's leader rules out talks with US GOP senator: Iran is behind attack on Saudi Arabia MORE (R-Wyo.) will step up to become the new chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, filling Thune’s old job, and Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntPaul objection snags confirmation of former McConnell staffer GOP group's ad calls on Graham to push for election security: 'Are you still trying?' Exclusive: Kushner tells GOP it needs to unify behind immigration plan MORE (R-Mo.) will take over Barrasso’s current position as chairman of the Republican Policy Committee, the No. 4 position. 

Sens. Joni ErnstJoni Kay Ernst'Mike Pounce' trends on Twitter after Trump slip at GOP retreat Overnight Energy: Trump administration to repeal waterway protections| House votes to block drilling in Arctic refuge| Administration takes key step to open Alaskan refuge to drilling by end of year Trump administration to repeal waterway protections MORE (R-Iowa) and Deb FischerDebra (Deb) Strobel FischerStatue of Chief Standing Bear to be unveiled in Capitol The 23 Republicans who opposed Trump-backed budget deal Landmark US-Russia arms control treaty poised for final blow MORE (R-Neb.) are competing to succeed Blunt as vice chair of the Senate GOP conference, the only contested leadership position. 

McConnell is eager to add a woman to his elected leadership team, according to Republican sources, after coming under criticism earlier this Congress for not including a woman on the special health-care working group he assembled in 2017. 

Ernst is better-known nationally and viewed as an effective communicator on television while Fischer, who serves as a counselor to McConnell’s leadership team, has worked behind the scenes to build strong relationships with GOP leaders. 

Sen. Todd YoungTodd Christopher YoungSenators pressure Trump to help end humanitarian crisis in Kashmir Congress set for chaotic fall sprint Overnight Defense: Senate fails to override Trump veto on Saudi arms sales | Two US troops killed in Afghanistan | Senators tee up nominations, budget deal ahead of recess MORE (R-Ind.) is making an uncontested bid to serve as National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman. 

When it comes to shifts among committee chairmen, all eyes are on Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Pelosi unveils signature plan to lower drug prices | Trump says it's 'great to see' plan | Progressives pushing for changes Trump: 'Great to see' Pelosi plan to lower drug prices Pelosi unveils signature plan to lower drug prices MORE (R-Iowa), who is expected to leave his position as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee to take over as chairman of the Finance Committee, according to a Republican source with knowledge of internal discussions. 

If Grassley slides over to chair the Finance Committee, then Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamHouse Armed Services panel gets classified briefing on Saudi attacks America's newest comedy troupe: House GOP GOP group hits Pence over Trump alleged business conflicts MORE (R-S.C.), an outspoken ally of President TrumpDonald John TrumpMarine unit in Florida reportedly pushing to hold annual ball at Trump property Giuliani clashes with CNN's Cuomo, calls him a 'sellout' and the 'enemy' Giuliani says 'of course' he asked Ukraine to look into Biden seconds after denying it MORE who blasted Democrats over their handling of Supreme Court Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughKavanaugh book author on impeachment calls: 'That's not our determination to make' Kavanaugh authors defend the integrity of their work The Hill's Morning Report - Pompeo condemns Iran for 'act of war' while Trump moves with caution MORE’s confirmation, would take over the Judiciary gavel. 

Grassley’s spokesman Michael Zona told The Hill last week that his boss would announce his decision publicly after he spoke to colleagues. 

A spokesman for Graham declined to comment.  

Chairmen won’t be elected by their committees until after the Senate’s new committee ratios are negotiated, which will wait until the winners of the Florida, Arizona and Mississippi Senate races are known. 

If Grassley stays at Judiciary, however, it would open the way for Sen. Mike CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean CrapoBipartisan housing finance reform on the road less taken 2020 Democrats raise alarm about China's intellectual property theft Trump faces tough path to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac overhaul MORE (R-Idaho) to take over as chairman of the Finance Committee and Sen. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyNSA improperly collected US phone records in October, new documents show Overnight Defense: Pick for South Korean envoy splits with Trump on nuclear threat | McCain blasts move to suspend Korean military exercises | White House defends Trump salute of North Korean general WH backpedals on Trump's 'due process' remark on guns MORE (R-Pa.) to take over as chairman of the Banking Committee. 

Thune is set to step down as chairman of the Commerce Committee, paving the way for Sen. Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerHillicon Valley: Zuckerberg to meet with lawmakers | Big tech defends efforts against online extremism | Trump attends secretive Silicon Valley fundraiser | Omar urges Twitter to take action against Trump tweet Tech giants defend efforts against extremist content The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation MORE (R-Miss.) to take over that panel. 

Sen. Jim RischJames (Jim) Elroy RischIssa's Senate confirmation hearing delayed over concerns about background check Overnight Defense: GOP wary of action on Iran | Pence says US 'locked and loaded' to defend allies | Iran's leader rules out talks with US Republicans wary of US action on Iran MORE (R-Idaho) is poised to take over as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerTrump announces, endorses ambassador to Japan's Tennessee Senate bid Meet the key Senate player in GOP fight over Saudi Arabia Trump says he's 'very happy' some GOP senators have 'gone on to greener pastures' MORE (R-Tenn.) retires at the end of the year. 

Senate Democrats will also meet Wednesday to vote on their new leadership team, and a senior Democratic aide said no changes are expected. 

Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSchumer, Pelosi push Trump to back universal background check bill Sinema says she would back Kennedy in race against Markey Democrats threaten to withhold defense votes over wall MORE (N.Y.), Senate Democratic Whip Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinA national interest rate cap would harm consumers in the name of consumers Senate committee approves 0 million for state election security efforts GOP's Kennedy sends warning shot to Trump nominee Menashi MORE (Ill.), Assistant Democratic Leader Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayDemocrats hit Scalia over LGBTQ rights EXCLUSIVE: Swing-state voters oppose 'surprise' medical bill legislation, Trump pollster warns Overnight Health Care: Juul's lobbying efforts fall short as Trump moves to ban flavored e-cigarettes | Facebook removes fact check from anti-abortion video after criticism | Poll: Most Democrats want presidential candidate who would build on ObamaCare MORE (Wash.) and Policy and Communications Committee Chairwoman Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowDemocrats seize Senate floor to protest gun inaction: 'Put up or shut up' Conservatives offer stark warning to Trump, GOP on background checks USDA cuts payments promised to researchers as agency uproots to Kansas City MORE (Mich.) will keep their jobs. 

“As far as I know, it’s exactly the same,” said a Senate Democratic aide. “The leadership team all the way down to the lower levels will stay exactly the same.” 

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Pelosi unveils signature plan to lower drug prices | Trump says it's 'great to see' plan | Progressives pushing for changes Buttigieg calls Warren 'evasive' on Medicare for all Sanders hits 1 million donors MORE (D-Mass.) and Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerHillicon Valley: Zuckerberg courts critics on Capitol Hill | Amazon makes climate pledge | Senate panel approves 0M for state election security Zuckerberg woos Washington critics during visit Zuckerberg to meet with lawmakers to discuss 'future internet regulation' MORE (D-Va.) are expected to stay on as vice chairmen of the Democratic Conference, Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharDemocrats will not beat Trump without moderate policy ideas Harris revamps campaign presence in Iowa Sanders, Yang to miss CNN's town hall on LGBTQ issues MORE (D-Minn.) is expected to serve another term as chairwoman of the Steering Committee and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Pelosi unveils signature plan to lower drug prices | Trump says it's 'great to see' plan | Progressives pushing for changes Krystal Ball calls on Sanders to follow Yang's lead on war on drugs Buttigieg calls Warren 'evasive' on Medicare for all MORE (I-Vt.) is expected to serve another term as chairman of outreach. 

Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinSchumer: I don't know any 'Democrat who agrees' with O'Rourke on gun seizures O'Rourke: Many Democrats 'complicit' in gun problem The Hill's Morning Report - Pompeo condemns Iran for 'act of war' while Trump moves with caution MORE (D-W.Va.) is expected to serve another Congress as vice chairman of policy and communications and Sen. Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinFederal funding for Chinese buses risks our national security Democrats threaten to withhold defense votes over wall The Trump downturn: Trouble ahead for the US economy MORE (D-Wis.) will serve again as conference secretary, said the Democratic aide. 

One question mark is who will succeed Sen. Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenProgressive tax-the-rich push gains momentum Senators pressure Trump to help end humanitarian crisis in Kashmir Democratic candidates are building momentum for a National Climate Bank MORE (Md.) as chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. 

He served two cycles as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee when he was in the House, so he could be in the mix for another term.

A spokeswoman for Van Hollen declined to comment.