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New Congress begins with safety committee leadership changes

United States Capitol Building

Photo: renaschild/iStock/Thinkstock

Washington – Retirements and a new Republican majority in the Senate have elevated certain Congress members to leadership positions in House and Senate safety committees for the 114th Congress.

Senate Republicans on Jan. 7 elected Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) to chair the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Alexander previously served as the committee’s ranking member.

His counterpart on the HELP Committee is Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), who becomes ranking member following the retirement of Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), who chaired the committee during the 113th Congress.

In the House, Democrats selected Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) to serve as ranking member of the Education and the Workforce Committee. Scott replaces former Rep. George Miller (D-CA), who recently retired following 14 years as the committee’s top Democrat.

On the other side of the aisle, Rep. John Kline (R-MN) will resume chairmanship of the Education and the Workforce Committee. He previously served two terms as committee chair and half a term as ranking member.