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New GOP faces on Senate tech committees

The Senate committees that deal most with technology policy issues are getting a few new Republican faces, as GOP senators take power in the upper chamber.

Veteran and freshmen Republicans will take seats on the Commerce, Judiciary and Intelligence committees next year, and they could help shape a handful of significant issues facing the panels.

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Republicans will gain three seats on the Judiciary Committee, two on the Commerce panel and one on Intelligence Committee, after the GOP wave in the midterm elections.

Sen. David VitterDavid Bruce VitterBottom line Lysol, Charmin keep new consumer brand group lobbyist busy during pandemic Bottom line MORE (R-La.) and Sens.-elect David Perdue (R-Ga.) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) are joining the Judiciary Committee, which is expected to tackle patent reform early next year after an effort collapsed this summer amid opposition from Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidFeinstein departure from top post sets stage for Judiciary fight Whitehouse says Democratic caucus will decide future of Judiciary Committee Bottom line MORE (R-Nev.).

A vote on Michelle Lee, President Obama’s nominee to lead the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, is also expected at some point next year. Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyRep. Rick Allen tests positive for COVID-19 On The Money: Biden to nominate Yellen for Treasury secretary | 'COVID cliff' looms | Democrats face pressure to back smaller stimulus Loeffler to continue to self-isolate after conflicting COVID-19 test results MORE (R-Iowa), the likely new chairman of the panel, signaled his support for Lee during a confirmation hearing last week, setting the stage for a relatively drama-free vote. 

Sens. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottDemocrats lead in diversity in new Congress despite GOP gains The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Capital One - Pfizer unveils detailed analysis of COVID-19 vaccine & next steps GOP senators congratulate Harris on Senate floor MORE (R-S.C.) and Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsBiden soars as leader of the free world Lobbying world President Trump: To know him is to 'No' him MORE (R-Ind.) are stepping down from the Commerce Committee to make way for Sens. Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranIt's time for Congress to act: Save jobs and stabilize the aerospace industry Lobbying world This World Suicide Prevention Day, let's recommit to protecting the lives of our veterans MORE (R-Kan.) and Sens.-elect Cory GardnerCory GardnerHillicon Valley: Trump fires top federal cybersecurity official, GOP senators push back | Apple to pay 3 million to resolve fight over batteries | Los Angeles Police ban use of third-party facial recognition software Senate passes bill to secure internet-connected devices against cyber vulnerabilities Democrats vent to Schumer over Senate majority failure MORE (R-Colo.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) and Steve Daines (R-Mont.). The panel oversees many tech issues and will soon start work on a massive rewrite of the nation’s telecommunication laws, among other issues critical for the sector.

The Intelligence Committee is also getting three new GOP faces next year: Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntMcConnell wants deal this week on fiscal 2021 spending figures Graham becomes center of Georgia storm Republicans start turning the page on Trump era MORE (R-Mo.) and Sens.-elect James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonO'Brien on 2024 talk: 'There's all kinds of speculation out there' Loeffler isolating after possible COVID-19 infection More conservatives break with Trump over election claims MORE (R-Ark.), after the retirements of Sens. Saxby ChamblissClarence (Saxby) Saxby ChamblissFight for Senate majority boils down to Georgia Lobbying world GOP lobbyist tapped for White House legislative affairs MORE (R-Ga.) and Tom CoburnThomas (Tom) Allen CoburnDemocrats step up hardball tactics in Supreme Court fight COVID response shows a way forward on private gun sale checks Inspector general independence must be a bipartisan priority in 2020 MORE (R-Okla.).

The new voices on the Intelligence and Judiciary committees could be instrumental as Congress examines reform of the National Security Agency early next year, ahead of the expiration of an agency provision.

The Intelligence Committee is also likely to focus on pushing a new cybersecurity bill, after the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act failed to move forward.