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.


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 VitterRed-state governor races put both parties on edge Louisiana Republicans score big legislative wins Trump calls on Republicans to vote out Democratic Louisiana governor amid GOP infighting 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 ReidThe Memo: Democrats confront prospect of long primary Bottom Line Lobbying world 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 GrassleyBooker, Sanders propose new federal agency to control drug prices GOP eager for report on alleged FBI surveillance abuse Johnson opens door to subpoenaing whistleblower, Schiff, Bidens 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 ScottOn The Money: Appeals court clears way for Congress to seek Trump financial records | Fed chief urges Congress to boost US workforce | Federal deficit hits 4 billion in one month | China talks hit snag over agricultural purchases GOP senator blasts Dem bills on 'opportunity zones' Lindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight MORE (R-S.C.) and Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsHillicon Valley: Amazon to challenge Pentagon cloud contract in court | State antitrust investigation into Google expands | Intel agencies no longer collecting location data without warrant Intelligence agencies have stopped collecting cellphone data without warrants: letter This week: Democrats churn toward next phase of impeachment fight MORE (R-Ind.) are stepping down from the Commerce Committee to make way for Sens. Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranMicrosoft embraces California law, shaking up privacy debate It's time for Congress to establish a national mental health crisis number Overnight Defense: Top diplomat changes testimony to indicate quid pro quo | Dem offers measure on Turkish human rights abuses in Syria | Warren offers plan to address veteran suicide rates MORE (R-Kan.) and Sens.-elect Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerTariffs threaten 1.5M jobs: Study This week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Progressive veterans group launches campaign labeling Trump as a 'national security threat' 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 BluntOvernight Health Care: Cigarette smoking rates at new low | Spread of vaping illness slowing | Dems in Congress push to block Trump abortion rule GOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial Alcohol industry races to save tax break by year-end deadline MORE (R-Mo.) and Sens.-elect James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonTom Cotton's only Democratic rival quits race in Arkansas Schumer concerned by Army's use of TikTok, other Chinese social media platforms Progressive freshmen jump into leadership PAC fundraising MORE (R-Ark.), after the retirements of Sens. Saxby ChamblissClarence (Saxby) Saxby ChamblissThe Hill's Morning Report - Gillibrand drops out as number of debaters shrinks Hoekstra emerges as favorite for top intelligence post Republicans say Democrats holding up disaster relief as 'Sandy payback' MORE (R-Ga.) and Tom CoburnThomas (Tom) Allen CoburnThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by PhRMA — Worries grow about political violence as midterms approach President Trump’s war on federal waste American patients face too many hurdles in regard to health-care access 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.