Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) recently announced new committee assignments for the second session of the 115th Congress. Senate Democrats gained a seat as a result of Alabama’s special election, bringing the partisan balance to 51 Republicans and 49 Democrats and Independents. As a result, Senate Democrats have additional seats on committees, giving them a one-vote margin on all committees except the Joint Economic Committee. Newly-elected Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) will serve on the Committees on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs (Banking); Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP); Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (HSGAC); and Aging. Newly-appointed Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) will serve on the Committees on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry; Energy and Natural Resources; HELP; and Indian Affairs. Other new assignments on key committees include Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) on the Finance Committee, and Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) on the Judiciary Committee.
Key Committees with new members that have jurisdiction over The Arc’s priority areas include Finance, HELP, and Judiciary. The Finance Committee has jurisdiction over tax laws, Social Security and SSI, Medicare, Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and many other health and human services programs. The HELP Committee has jurisdiction over education policy, employment policy, medical research, public health, the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act, and parts of the ACA. The Judiciary committee has jurisdiction over civil rights laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act.