This week House Republicans continued with preparations for the 114th Congress by announcing their choices for Committee Chairmen. Mike Conaway (R-TX) will be the new chairman of the Agriculture Committee.  He is replacing Frank Lucas (R-OK) as Lucas reached his six-year limit as chairman as House Republicans have put a term limit of six years on all chairmen slots. Collin Peterson will keep his position as Ranking Member. The Appropriations Committee will have no changes in the top positions. Hal Rogers (R-KY) will remain chairman and Nita Lowey (D-NY) will continue on as Ranking Member.

The Subcommittee Chairmen of the Appropriations Committee were also announced this week. They are as follows:

  • Agriculture: Robert Aderholt (R-AL)
  • Commerce, Justice, and Science: John Culberson (R-TX)
  • Defense: Rodney Frelinghuysen (R- NJ)
  • Energy and Water Development: Mike Simpson (R-ID)
  • Financial Services: Ander Crenshaw (R-FL)
  • Homeland Security: John Carter (R-TX)
  • Interior, Environment: Ken Calvert (R-CA)
  • Labor, Health and Human Services, Education: Tom Cole (R-OK)
  • Legislative Branch: Tom Graves (R-GA)
  • Military Construction, Veterans Affairs: Charles Dent (R-PA)
  • State, Foreign Operations: Kay Granger (R-TX)
  • Transportation, Housing and Urban Development: Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL).

Chairman Rogers also announced four new Republican members in the 114th Congress. They are Reps. David Jolly (R-FL), Scott Rigell (R-VA), Evan Jenkins (R-WV), and David Young (R-IA).

Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) will continue to chair the Energy and Commerce Committee. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) will be the new ranking member. The ranking member slot opened up when Henry Waxman (D-CA) retired.

As well as announcing Ranking Members, House Democrats also elected their leadership this week and kept the same roster: Reps. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as Minority Leader; Steny Hoyer (D-MD) will continue as Minority Whip, and James Clyburn (D-SC) as Assistant Leader.

On a related note, five of the six races that were too close to call on election night have been decided. The Democrat won in each of the races.  Four of the races were in California:  Rep. Ami Berra (CA #7) will be returning to Congress. Berra was in a tight race with former Rep. Doug Ose (R).

Jim Costa (CA#16) will also be returning to Congress. Costa, a long time supporter and friend of the chicken industry, won by 1,319 votes against Johnny Tacherra, a dairy farmer from Merced.  Costa is currently ranking member of the Livestock, Rural Development and Credit subcommittee on the House Agriculture Committee.

Julia Brownley (CA #26) will be returning to Congress as well, defeating Jeff Gorell, a State Assemblyman.  Rep. Gary Miller was defeated by Pete Aguiliar, the Mayor of Redlands. Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) will be coming back to Congress, defeating Mark Assini.

One race has yet to be decided and was too close to call, triggering an automatic recount.  District one in Arizona is a contest between current Rep. Ron Barber (D) and Martha McSally (R).  McSally is ahead by 2,000 votes and is expected to win the runoff.

There are two other House races and one Senate seat yet to be decided – all are in Louisiana, and all will be decided on Saturday, December 6 in a state runoff election. The two House districts, five and six, are solidly Republican seats, but with the presence of a third party challenger in each of the two congressional races, neither Republican got the 50 percent needed to win the race.  Sen. Mary Landrieu is running again Rep. Bill Cassidy  (R-LA). Landrieu is completing her third term in the Senate.

With the Louisiana race undecided, Senate leadership is holding off on declaring any committee changes, including Chairmanship, until after the December 6 runoff.