The House and Senate this week elected members to leadership positions, and in most cases, it was to reelect the same slate.  In the House, the three top Republican positions will remain the same: Rep. John Boehner (OH) as Speaker, Rep. Eric Cantor (VA) as Majority Leader, and Kevin McCarthy (CA) as Majority Whip.  The Democrats reelected Nancy Pelosi (CA) to be House Minority Leader.

Most committee chairman of the House will keep their posts: Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY) will head the Appropriations Committee and Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK)  will remain as Agriculture Committee head.  Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN) will retain ranking position of Agriculture. The ranking position on House Appropriations is yet to be decided.

The Senate Democratic Conference voted to keep it’s leadership team intact and so reelected Harry Reid (NV) as Majority Leader, Dick Durbin (IL) as Majority Whip, Charles Schumer (NY) as Democratic Conference Vice Chairman and Patty Murray  (WA) as Conference Secretary.  Another slot yet to be filled is the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee chairman as Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) will be leaving that post.

Senate Republicans reelected Mitch McConnell  (KY) to be Minority Leader, John Cornyn (TX) as Minority Whip, and John Thune (SD) as Republican Conference Chairman.  Jerry Moran (KS) will lead the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

The Democratic pickups in the November 6 elections are seen as making it likely that there will be additional Democratic slots at the committees, changing the ratio of Democrats to Republicans. With this election, Senate Democrats now hold 55 seats to 45 Republican seats; however, it remains to be seen whether Republicans will lose any of the seats and the Democrats will just add one seat to each committee.

One important item on Majority Leader Reid’s agenda is potentially changing the Senate rules that will eliminate cloture votes on motions to proceed.  Reid did not say he would try to change the 60-vote threshold necessary to cut off filibusters per se.  Instead, he suggested that he wants to make changes that will eliminate the filibuster as a way to keep the Senate from beginning debates on bills.

Not all housekeeping decision have been made yet.  Both chambers will back in session the week after Thanksgiving and are scheduled to be in Washington, D.C. in December.  However, just how deep into December Congress will go is uncertain at this time as therer are many issues still on the table.  Speaker Boehner did say that he is looking at a December 14 adjournment for the 112th Congress, but that date remains uncertain.