November 18, 2016

Lawmakers Select Leaders for 115th Congress

Senators and House representatives returned to Washington this week to elect leaders for the 115th Congress.

Republican leadership remained virtually unchanged, with both Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) being unanimously reelected to their positions. The only change to the House Republican leadership team was the addition of Congressman Doug Collins (R-GA) who replaces Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) as the conference vice chairman. The Senate Republican leadership team remains unchanged.

Senate Democrats elected Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to replace Sen. Harry Reid (R-NV) as minority leader. Reid did not seek reelection and will retire from the Senate at the end of the 114th Congress. Joining Schumer on the Senate Democratic leadership team will be Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) as minority whip and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) as assistant Democratic leader.

As a nod to party progressives, Senate Democrats elected Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) as their conference vice chair and Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) as conference secretary. Schumer also chose Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to serve as Democratic caucus head of outreach.

The more conservative Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) was named vice chair of the Democratic policy and communications committee.

House Democrats postponed their leadership elections until the end of November to digest the results of the 2016 elections, though on Thursday, Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) announced he will challenge Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as minority leader. It is the first challenge Pelosi has faced for Democratic House leadership since 2010. Pelosi says she already has the support of two-thirds of the Democratic Caucus to defeat Ryan’s bid.