POLICY BRIEFINGS


Schumer Announces Committee Leadership, Membership


Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced Senate Democratic committee memberships for the 116th Congress last week. All memberships have been agreed to by the Democratic Conference but are subject to ratification by the full Senate when the 116th Congress convenes in January. Two changes of note related to committees with health care jurisdiction: Sen.-elect Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) will replace Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee. Sens. Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-Nev.) and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) will take the seats of departing Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) on the Senate Finance Committee.


Pelosi Agrees to Leadership Term Limits


Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has agreed to hold a caucus vote next year that would limit Democrats serving in the top three leadership posts to three terms when in the majority. A fourth term would be allowed if the candidate has the support of two-thirds of the caucus. The rule would count the terms served when Democrats held the House majority from 2007 to 2011. The proposal will be debated and voted on as a part of internal Democratic Caucus rule changes by February 15. Pelosi’s agreement to term limits secures the support of many of her critics, who were on the record in opposition for the Jan. 3 vote for Speaker of the House. Reps. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), Filemon Vela (D-Texas), Bill Foster (D-Ill.), Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.), and Rep.-elect Gil Cisneros (D-Calif.), now plan on backing Pelosi, giving her the necessary majority to take the Speaker’s gavel for the 116th Congress with the opportunity to continue until 2022 if the Democrats hold the majority.

In related news, Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) will hold the title “Assistant Speaker” instead of “Assistant Majority Leader” next congress. Pelosi reportedly called for the change during a closed-door caucus meeting last week, and the motion passed unanimously by voice vote. Luján most recently served as the House Democrats’ Campaign Chairman during the 2018 midterm elections and was elected by House Democrats last month to serve as Assistant Democratic Leader during the 116th Congress – the number four spot in Democratic leadership.


Mulvaney Tapped as Acting WH Chief of Staff


President Trump has named Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney as Acting Chief of Staff. Departing Chief of Staff John Kelly, who has spent 17 months in the position, is scheduled to leave at the start of next year. Deputy OMB director Russell Vought will take over Mulvaney’s responsibilities in the budget office, though Mulvaney will keep his title at OMB while serving in the White House until a permanent replacement is found. Trump is reportedly considering former campaign aide David Bossie, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, and Blackstone Group executive Wayne Berman for the post.



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