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 McConnellLindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight Biden not ruling out Senate voting to impeach Trump: 'It will depend on what their constituency says' Congress hunts for path out of spending stalemate MORE’s (R-Ky.) leadership team.

Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneTrump encounters GOP resistance to investigating Hunter Biden Republicans warn election results are 'wake-up call' for Trump The Hill's 12:30 Report: Public impeachment hearings to begin next week 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. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Thune will replace Sen. John CornynJohn CornynFalling investment revives attacks against Trump's tax cuts GOP senators plan to tune out impeachment week The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump says Dems shouldn't hold public hearings 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 BarrassoCentrist Democrats seize on state election wins to rail against Warren's agenda Eleven GOP senators sign open letter backing Sessions's comeback bid GOP senators discuss impeachment with Trump after House vote 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 BluntCongress hunts for path out of spending stalemate GOP senators plan to tune out impeachment week Eleven GOP senators sign open letter backing Sessions's comeback bid 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 ErnstThis week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry GOP senators plan to tune out impeachment week Senate talks on stalled Violence Against Women Act reauthorization unravel MORE (R-Iowa) and Deb FischerDebra (Deb) Strobel FischerEleven GOP senators sign open letter backing Sessions's comeback bid Female lawmakers make bipartisan push for more women in politics at All In Together gala Former Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey endorses Biden 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 YoungOvernight Defense: Protests at Trump's NYC Veterans Day speech | House Dems release Pentagon official's deposition transcript | Lawmakers ask Trump to rescind Erdogan invite Former AG Sessions enters Alabama Senate race Sessions expected to announce plans to run for Senate 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 GrassleyFalling investment revives attacks against Trump's tax cuts Overnight Health Care: CDC links vitamin E oil to vaping illnesses | White House calls Pelosi drug price plan 'unworkable' | Dem offers bill for state-based 'Medicare for All' White House says Pelosi plan to lower drug prices 'unworkable' 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 GrahamLindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight Trump circuit court nominee in jeopardy amid GOP opposition The Hill's Morning Report - Impeachment drama will dominate this week MORE (R-S.C.), an outspoken ally of President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive landmark moments of testimony to Congress Lindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight Democrats sharpen their message on impeachment MORE who blasted Democrats over their handling of Supreme Court Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughFive landmark moments of testimony to Congress Lindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight Trump rips ABC over Epstein coverage 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 CrapoEleven GOP senators sign open letter backing Sessions's comeback bid GOP requests update on criminal referrals prompted by 2018 Kavanaugh probe Nearing finish line, fight for cannabis banking bill shifts to the Senate 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 WickerTrump circuit court nominee in jeopardy amid GOP opposition Pay America's Coast Guard Graham predicts controversial Trump court picks will clear panel MORE (R-Miss.) to take over that panel. 

Sen. Jim RischJames (Jim) Elroy RischOvernight Defense: Protests at Trump's NYC Veterans Day speech | House Dems release Pentagon official's deposition transcript | Lawmakers ask Trump to rescind Erdogan invite Trump encounters GOP resistance to investigating Hunter Biden Graham: Schiff comment on inquiry findings 'full of crap' MORE (R-Idaho) is poised to take over as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerLindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Nareit — White House cheers Republicans for storming impeachment hearing GOP senators frustrated with Romney jabs at Trump 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 SchumerIlhan Omar blasts Pete King as an 'Islamophobe' after he announces retirement: 'Good riddance' Top Senate Dem: Officials timed immigration policy around 2020 election Senate fight derails bipartisan drug pricing bills MORE (N.Y.), Senate Democratic Whip Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinFive things to watch at Supreme Court's DACA hearings Trump circuit court nominee in jeopardy amid GOP opposition Senate fight derails bipartisan drug pricing bills MORE (Ill.), Assistant Democratic Leader Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayRetirement bill blocked in Senate amid fight over amendments Senate Democrats call on White House to abandon plan to collect DNA from migrants Overnight Health Care: Judge temporarily blocks Alabama near-total abortion ban | Sanders dismisses calls for 'Medicare for All' funding plan | Dems urge Trump not to back down on vaping flavor ban MORE (Wash.) and Policy and Communications Committee Chairwoman Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowCentrist Democrats seize on state election wins to rail against Warren's agenda Cash surge puts more Senate races in play Poll shows Sen. Gary Peters with slim lead over GOP rival in Michigan 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 WarrenBiden: 'I'm more of a Democrat from my shoe sole to my ears' than anyone else running Press: Another billionaire need not apply Saagar Enjeti dismisses Warren, Klobuchar claims of sexism MORE (D-Mass.) and Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerCentrist Democrats seize on state election wins to rail against Warren's agenda Hillicon Valley: Facebook to remove mentions of potential whistleblower's name | House Dems demand FCC action over leak of location data | Dem presses regulators to secure health care data Senator criticizes HHS for not investigating exposure of millions of medical images MORE (D-Va.) are expected to stay on as vice chairmen of the Democratic Conference, Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharPress: Another billionaire need not apply Saagar Enjeti dismisses Warren, Klobuchar claims of sexism Warren on winning over male voters: I was told to 'smile more' MORE (D-Minn.) is expected to serve another term as chairwoman of the Steering Committee and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersTech firms face skepticism over California housing response Press: Another billionaire need not apply Ex-Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick mulling 2020 run: report MORE (I-Vt.) is expected to serve another term as chairman of outreach. 

Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinFormer coal exec Don Blankenship launches third-party presidential bid Centrist Democrats seize on state election wins to rail against Warren's agenda Overnight Energy: Senate eyes nixing 'forever chemicals' fix from defense bill | Former Obama EPA chief named CEO of green group | Senate reviews Interior, FERC nominees criticized on ethics MORE (D-W.Va.) is expected to serve another Congress as vice chairman of policy and communications and Sen. Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinIt's time for Congress to establish a national mental health crisis number The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Better Medicare Alliance - Dems unveil impeachment measure; Vindman splits GOP The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Better Medicare Alliance - Dems shift strategy on impeachment vote 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 HollenOn The Money: Retirement savings bill blocked in Senate after fight over amendments | Stopgap bill may set up December spending fight | Hardwood industry pleads for relief from Trump trade war GAO reviewing Trump hold on Ukraine military aid Democrats unveil proposal for 'millionaires surtax' 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.