The committee is poised to play an especially high-profile role in the next Congress and conduct aggressive oversight of the Biden administration’s border security policies. The Committee may also conduct oversight into supply chain matters, export controls, U.S. entities funded by China, and nearshoring and reshoring by U.S. businesses.
House Judiciary Committee – Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH) is positioned to be the Chair. The House Judiciary Committee is uniquely equipped to investigate the executive branch. It will likely investigate matters related to antitrust and Big Tech, the border crisis, FBI oversight, the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) use of corporate settlements to fund third-party organizations, and the DOJ’s actions related to school boards. The Judiciary Committee would also have a central role in any effort to impeach President Biden.
House Oversight and Reform Committee – House Republican oversight staff is actively working on an oversight agenda for the 118th Congress. They expect to start sending oversight letters in the first weeks of the new Congress. A part of that oversight agenda will be the anticipated investigations of the Biden Administration and issues directly related to President Joe Biden, his family, and administration officials. The Committee has wide-ranging oversight across jurisdictions, including but not limited to: corporate policies related to ESG and so-called “woke capitalism,” all matters pertaining to Big Tech and greentech, federal contracts under the Biden Administration, DOE grants and loans, university tuition rates, previously unanswered requests, and tax-exempt entities.
House Ways and Means Committee – There is a heated race to lead the Ways and Means Committee, with Representatives Vern Buchanan (R-FL), Jason Smith (R-MO), and Adrian Smith (R-NE) are vying for the gavel. Experts believe Jason Smith has an edge in this race right now, and Buchanan has the most seniority out of the three, yet it is unclear who will preside over the Committee. The House Ways and Means Committee has the sole power to craft all taxation-related legislation, and Republicans will pursue a number of key priorities, including making permanent the individual provisions from the 2017 tax reform law, rolling back tax changes enacted as part of the IRA, including the corporate alternative minimum tax and the 1 percent stock buyback excise tax. Some likely oversight issues that the Committee may explore in the 118th Congress include IRS funding and operations, leaks of taxpayer data, tax- exempt entities, university endowments, foreign ties of nonprofit advocacy groups, and industry relations with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
In the battle for the Senate, Republicans needed to gain just one seat to take the majority—and they came up short. Republicans had high hopes for winning the upper chamber, but Democrat incumbents in Nevada, New Hampshire, and Arizona overcame challenges, and Senator-elect John Fetterman (D-PA) dispatched challenger Mehmet Oz to pick-up the seat vacated by retiring Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) to secure the majority. While the final balance of power in the Senate will not be determined until after the December 6 runoff between incumbent Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock and challenger Hershel Walker, Democrats have secured at least 50 seats. A triumphant Senate Majority Leader Schumer called the results a “vindication” for Democrats and their agenda after the party held onto their Senate majority for the next two years.
Nevertheless, Democrats remain far from a 60-vote supermajority in the Senate, which is needed to overcome a filibuster, limit debate, and allow the chamber to proceed to a bill’s consideration. Given that limitation, nothing significant will become law without compromise in the House and the Senate.
Unlike the House, there is little drama or intrigue regarding the composition of Senate Leadership. Schumer will remain the Majority leader. His Republican counterpart, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), will face a challenger in Senator Rick Scott (R-FL), but is expected to easily maintain his leadership post. Senate Democrats are set to hold their leadership elections the week of December 5, and Senate Republicans will vote on their leader on November 16.