While the election did not result in major changes in the House and Senate majorities, it did result in openings on key Committees important to people with I/DD. The Democrats in the Senate picked up 2 seats and it is assumed that the Independents (newly elected Angus King (I-ME) and re-elected Bernard Sanders (I-VT) will caucus with the Democrats. However, the 55-45 majority is still short of the 60 votes needed to stop filibusters (a procedural maneuver that results in needing 60 votes rather than a simple majority to pass legislation). While all of the election results are not final in the House races the Republican majority retains a significant advantage (likely 234-201) as compared to the current Congress (242-196 with 3 vacancies). When the 113thCongress convenes in January several Committees and Subcommittee will have new leadership including:
- Ranking Minority Member, Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP) (Senator Enzi R-WY is term limited and it is likely that Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) will step into that role)
- Chair, Senate Budget Committee (Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND) retired)
- Ranking member, House Appropriations (Rep. Norman Dicks (D-WA) retired)
- Chair, House Labor, Health and Human Services Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee (Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT) defeated in Senate bid)
- Chair and Ranking Member of the Health Subcommittee of Ways and Means will both be open given the retirement of Rep. Herger (R-CA) and defeat of Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA)
These and other changes will lead to a shuffling of chairmanships and other positions as Members and leadership weigh the different options.