Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D, MI) and Rep. Frank Lucas (R, OK) will remain chairs of their respective chambers’ agriculture committees based on leadership announcements so far, and while the House Democrats have yet to formally name their ranking committee members, Rep. Collin Peterson (D, MN) will very likely remain as ranking member of the House agriculture panel.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D, NV) has named a few new committee chairs, but the GOP has not finalized ranking members. Sen. Pat Roberts (R, KS), the current ranking member of the Senate ag committee, may be challenged for that spot by Sen. Thad Cochran (R, MS), former chair of the committee and the longest serving Senator on the ag panel.
If Cochran takes the ranking slot on the ag committee, chances of getting a five-year Farm Bill completed by Jan. 1, 2012 become more difficult given southern producers unhappiness with the Senate-approved Farm Bill.
In the House, the Republican caucus selected sitting chair Rep. Fred Upton (R, MI) to remain as head of the Energy & Commerce Committee, the panel overseeing all things FDA, and Rep. Henry Waxman (D, CA) is expected to remain the committee’s ranking member. The House Appropriations Committee remains under the gavel of Rep. Hal Rogers (R, KY), but a battle royal is being waged by Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D, OH) and Rep. Nita Lowey (D, NY) over who will take the ranking member spot. Rep. Jack Kingston (R, GA) will remain chair of the agriculture/FDA subcommittee. Former chair of the House Agriculture Committee Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R, VA) was selected to chair the Judiciary Committee.
The Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee remains under the chairmanship of Sen. Tom Harkin (D, IA), but Sen. Mike Enzi must surrender the ranking slot and it’s unclear whether Sen. Lamar Alexander (R, TN) or Sen. Richard Burr (R, NC) will move into that slot.
The Senate Appropriations Committee will be chaired by Sen. Daniel Inouye (D, HI), but the ranking member slot is open based on Cochran’s tenure. The agriculture/FDA subcommittee chair is open given Sen. Herb Kohl’s (D, WI) retirement, but Sen. Roy Blunt (R, MO) will likely remain as ranking member.