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 McConnellAir travel union leaders warn of 'unprecedented' safety risks as shutdown continues On The Money: Shutdown Day 33 | Fight over State of the Union | Pelosi tells Trump no speech on Tuesday | Trump teases 'alternative' address | Trump adviser warns shutdown could hurt growth | Mulvaney seeks list of vulnerable programs Demonstrators protesting shutdown arrested outside McConnell's office MORE’s (R-Ky.) leadership team.

Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneMomentum for earmarks grows with Dem majority Rove warns Senate GOP: Don't put only focus on base Leaders nix recess with no shutdown deal in sight 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 CornynSenate ethics panel won’t penalize Booker over confidential Kavanaugh documents Graham angers Dems by digging into Clinton, Obama controversies Trump tells GOP senators he’s sticking to Syria and Afghanistan pullout  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 BarrassoSenate Republicans eye rules change to speed Trump nominees Overnight Energy: Wheeler weathers climate criticism at confirmation hearing | Dems want Interior to stop drilling work during shutdown | 2018 was hottest year for oceans Dems blast EPA nominee at confirmation hearing 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 BluntMomentum for earmarks grows with Dem majority McConnell: Senate won't override Trump veto on shutdown fight Senate immigration talks fall apart 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 ErnstErnst opens up about past assaults Trump tells GOP senators he’s sticking to Syria and Afghanistan pullout  McConnell: Senate will not recess if government still shutdown MORE (R-Iowa) and Deb FischerDebra (Deb) Strobel FischerMomentum for earmarks grows with Dem majority Ernst elected to Senate GOP leadership This week: Congress starts lame-duck with leadership fight 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 YoungThis week: Congress heading in opposite directions on shutdown plans Senate GOP eyes 'nuclear option' for Trump nominees GOP senators propose bill to pay 'excepted' workers during shutdown 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 GrassleyProposed drug importation bill would expose Americans to counterfeit meds Senate ethics panel won’t penalize Booker over confidential Kavanaugh documents Grassley to hold drug pricing hearing 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 GrahamDOJ opinion will help protect kids from dangers of online gambling Graham angers Dems by digging into Clinton, Obama controversies Barr’s first task as AG: Look at former FBI leaders’ conduct MORE (R-S.C.), an outspoken ally of President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: I will deliver State of the Union 'when the shutdown is over' Former NYPD commander claims Trump got special treatment for gun licenses Colbert starts petition for Cardi B to give State of the Union rebuttal MORE who blasted Democrats over their handling of Supreme Court Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughErnst opens up about past assaults Senate ethics panel won’t penalize Booker over confidential Kavanaugh documents Political analyst says religious right will tolerate anything with Trump because he has delivered on SCOTUS 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 CrapoOvernight Health Care: HHS chief refuses to testify on family separations | Grassley to test GOP on lowering drug prices | PhRMA spends record on lobbying in 2018 Senate advances measure bucking Trump on Russia sanctions Deutsche Bank targeted by Dems over Trump ties MORE (R-Idaho) to take over as chairman of the Finance Committee and Sen. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyOvernight 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 Top GOP candidate drops out of Ohio Senate race 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 WickerOvernight Health Care: Dem chair plans hearing on Medicare for all | Senate GOP talks drug prices with Trump health chief | PhRMA CEO hopeful Trump reverses course on controversial pricing proposal Mobile providers at center of privacy storm The Memo: Trump moves to brink of emergency declaration MORE (R-Miss.) to take over that panel. 

Sen. Jim RischJames (Jim) Elroy RischSen. Risch has unique chance to guide Trump on foreign policy Pressure mounts for Trump to reconsider Syria withdrawal Congress poised to push back at Trump on Saudi Arabia, Syria MORE (R-Idaho) is poised to take over as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerSen. Risch has unique chance to guide Trump on foreign policy The Memo: Romney moves stir worries in Trump World Senate GOP names first female members to Judiciary panel 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 SchumerCongress: Americans in Puerto Rico still need our help Airbnb is doing the Democrats' dirty work Protecting our judiciary must be a priority in the 116th Congress MORE (N.Y.), Senate Democratic Whip Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSenate ethics panel won’t penalize Booker over confidential Kavanaugh documents Grassley to hold drug pricing hearing Graham angers Dems by digging into Clinton, Obama controversies MORE (Ill.), Assistant Democratic Leader Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurraySen. Murray says Washington behavior reminds her of former preschool students Senate rejects government-wide ban on abortion funding Overnight Health Care: Dem chair plans hearing on Medicare for all | Senate GOP talks drug prices with Trump health chief | PhRMA CEO hopeful Trump reverses course on controversial pricing proposal MORE (Wash.) and Policy and Communications Committee Chairwoman Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowSenate Dems raise concerns about shutdown's impact on assistance to taxpayers Durbin signals he will run for reelection Coal supporter Manchin named top Dem on Senate Energy Committee 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 WarrenDem 2020 hopeful Buttigieg touts his experience level, compares it to Trump's Kamala Harris leads 2020 Dem field in second Daily Kos straw poll Sherrod Brown: Dems will lose if 'we have to choose' between speaking to progressive base and workers MORE (D-Mass.) and Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerCongress gets tough on China over trade secrets Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers worry as 'deepfakes' spread | New intel strategy sees threats from emerging tech | Google fined M under EU data rules | WhatsApp moves to curb misinformation On The Money: Shutdown Day 32 | Senate to vote on dueling funding measures | GOP looks to change narrative | Dems press Trump on recalled workers | Kudlow predicts economy will 'snap back' after shutdown MORE (D-Va.) are expected to stay on as vice chairmen of the Democratic Conference, Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharProposed drug importation bill would expose Americans to counterfeit meds The Memo: Diverse Democratic field lines up for 2020 Grassley to hold drug pricing hearing MORE (D-Minn.) is expected to serve another term as chairwoman of the Steering Committee and Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersVideo surfaces of Beto O'Rourke playing the Ramones' 'Blitzkrieg Bop' in a mask and onesie If single payer were really a bargain, supporters like Rep. John Yarmuth would be upfront about its cost Dem 2020 hopeful Buttigieg touts his experience level, compares it to Trump's MORE (I-Vt.) is expected to serve another term as chairman of outreach. 

Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinGOP seeks to change narrative in shutdown fight Senate to vote on dueling government funding bills This week: Congress heading in opposite directions on shutdown plans MORE (D-W.Va.) is expected to serve another Congress as vice chairman of policy and communications and Sen. Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne Baldwin116th Congress breaks records for women, minority lawmakers Kyrsten Sinema swears in to Congress using copy of Constitution instead of religious book Dems say Trump is defying court order by pushing abstinence programs 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 HollenDC train system losing 0k per day during government shutdown Senate Dems introduce legislation to back-pay low-wage contractors Government shutdown impasse is a leveraging crisis 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.