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Legislative Affairs

January 27, 2023

House & Senate Committee Assignments Close to Final

House Select Committee on China Sets Key Priorities

Chairman Mike Gallagher (R-WI) will be joined by a dozen other Republicans on the 16-member committee who were announced earlier this week by Leader McCarthy. Democrats have yet to name their 3 members to the committee. Gallagher says the committee’s focus will be on hard security issues, like providing miliary equipment to Taiwan to defend themselves against Chinese aggression, as well as more niche topics, like banning Tik Tok and investigating Chinese land purchases near US military bases. Overall, the committee will worry less about determining funding levels and more on influencing policy decisions. Gallagher also wants to try an influence the next National Defense Authorization Act, but he will have to hurry to get achieve that goal. Hearings are expected to begin in early March at the latest.

Here’s what else you may have missed this week:

House Committee assignments are still being made. Throughout this week, the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee met to populate committees in the House while Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced committee assignments for new Democratic members. However, both legislative bodies need final adjustments before things are set in stone. In the Senate, this could happen as early as next week — they are just waiting to adopt an organizing resolution. In the House, the process is trickier because member preferences and seniority are coming to a head with the agreed upon ratios established by Republicans and Democrats. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has complicated things further by blocking Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) from serving on the House Intelligence Committee. Leader McCarthy is also looking to expel Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) from the House Foreign Affairs Committee for her stance on Israel, but that will require a floor vote.

This jockeying at the top is affecting which members will retain seats on committees. Adam Schiff for example, now that he’s blocked from House Intel, can choose to serve on either Appropriations or on Judiciary where he could bump another member to retain his seat. This kind of interaction is happening all across the House at the moment and is partly why committees have been slow to fill their rosters.

Despite the setbacks, two House Committees under their new Republican Chairs have announced their first hearings, including one on February 1st which will address the Fentanyl Crisis, a cyber security breach of Suicide Hotlines, and discrimination against individuals with disabilities. LINK TO HEARING NOTICE

Two more House Democrats announce Senate campaigns. On Thursday, Adam Schiff announced his campaign for Senator Dianne Feinstein’s seat in California. He joins Rep. Katie Porter in what is expected to be a crowded field. California’s jungle primary system means the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, will advance to the general election. In an interview following his announcement Schiff said that he spoke with Sen. Feinstein before announcing and that his office and hers remain in constant contact given their history as lead Democrats on the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. Senator Feinstein has not yet announced her intentions for the 2024 election, but she is expected by many to retire.

In bordering Arizona, Rep. Ruben Gallego announced his campaign on Tuesday to run in the Democratic primary for Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s seat. This announcement comes just over a month after Sen. Sinema switched from a Democrat to an Independent after years of blocking more progressive initiatives in the Senate. Sinema has not yet announced whether she will run for reelection, and Democrats may have to worry about an independent campaign that splits the vote and hands a Senate seat to the Republicans. Gallego raised more than a million dollars for his campaign on Day 1, breaking the Arizona record for the number of contributions in a single day with 27,000 supporters.

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