SPECIAL UPDATE: New Leadership and New Committee Chairs for the
This update was originally sent out as an e-mail message to AGI's
When 110th Congress convenes in January, the Democrats will be in
the majority in both chambers, the leadership of all of the committees
will switch, and there will be new chairs. Many of the new chairs
are senior members of Congress, who are well known and have plenty
of experience with congressional rules and procedures. In addition
to changes in the committees, there will be changes in the leadership
of Congress and both parties.
Here is a list of the new Democratic and Republican leadership in
Congress plus the new Democratic members of relevant Senate committees.
In addition, a biographical summary of the new Democratic leadership
in Congress and the new Democratic chairs of committees of interest
to the Earth science community have been included. Our brief and non-comprehensive
summary focuses on policy issues of interest to the Earth science
Senate Democratic Leadership for the 110th Congress
Harry Reid, Majority Leader,
Robert C. Byrd, President Pro
Dick Durbin, Assistant Majority
Leader & Whip, D-IL
Charles E. Schumer, Vice
Chair of the Conference, D-NY
Patty Murray, Secretary of
the Conference, D-WA
Charles E. Schumer, Chairman
of Campaign Committee, D-NY
Byron L. Dorgan, Chairman
of Policy Committee, D-ND
Debbie Stabenow, Chair of
Steering and Outreach Committee, D-MI
Jeff Bingaman, Chairman
of Committee Outreach, D-NM
Hillary Rodham Clinton, Vice
Chair of Committee Outreach, D-NY
Blanche L. Lincoln, Chair
of Rural Outreach, D-AR
Barbara Boxer, Chief Deputy
Thomas R. Carper, Deputy Whip,
Bill Nelson, Deputy
Russell D. Feingold, Deputy
Senate Republican Leaders 110th Congress
Minority Leader -- Sen. Mitch
Minority Whip -- Sen. Trent Lott
GOP Conference Chair -- Sen. Jon
GOP Conf. Vice Chair -- Sen. John
GOP Policy Committee Chair -- Sen.
Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX)
Republican Senatorial Committee Chair -- Sen.
John Ensign (R-NV)
New Democratic Leadership in the 110th Congress
Speaker of the House -- Rep.
Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
Majority Leader -- Rep. Steny
Majority Whip -- Rep. James
Dem. Caucus Chair -- Rep.
Rahm Emanuel (D-IL)
Dem. Caucus Vice Chair -- Rep.
John Larson (D-CT)
House Republican Leadership in the 110th Congress
Minority Leader -- Rep. John
Minority Whip -- Rep. Roy Blunt
(R-MO) (Rep. Eric Cantor
to be appointed Chief Dep. Whip)
GOP Conference Chair -- Rep.
Adam Putnam (R-FL)
GOP Conference Vice Chair -- Rep.
Kay Granger (R-TX)
GOP Conference Secretary -- Rep.
John Carter (R-TX)
GOP Policy Committee Chair -- Rep.
Thad McCotter (R-MI)
NRCC Chair -- Rep. Tom Cole
New Panel Members
Following are party ratios (D-R) and the new Democratic members of
Senate committees of interest to the Earth science community in the
110th Congress: (Note the committee ratios are the same as those for
the 108th Congress, when the parties were separated by the same 51
to 49 advantage)
* Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry (11-10): Sherrod
Brown, Ohio, Bob Casey,
Pa., and Amy Klobuchar,
* Appropriations (15-14): Jack Reed,
R.I., Frank Lautenberg,
N.J., and Ben Nelson,
* Budget (12-11): Benjamin L.
Cardin, Md., Bernard Sanders,
Vt., and Sheldon Whitehouse,
* Commerce, Science and Transportation (12-11): Thomas
R. Carper, Del., Claire
McCaskill, Mo. and Klobuchar,
* Energy and Natural Resources (12-11): Blanche
Lincoln, Ark.; Sanders, Vt.,
and Jon Tester, Mont.
* Environment and Public Works (10-9): Cardin,
Md.; Sanders, Vt.; Klobuchar,
Minn., and Whitehouse,
* Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (11-10): Barack
Obama, Ill., Sanders, Vt., and
SENATE: New Democratic Leaders and Committee Chairs Who Will Take
Over When the 110th Congress Convenes on January 3, 2007
Majority Leader: Harry Reid
(D-NV), 66, is characterized as a straightforward hard worker, who
prefers quiet compromise rather than publicized, loud debates. He
is strongly opposed to the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository
project, he supports brownfields legislation, and he supports improvements
to the Clean Air Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, Endangered Species
Act and Clean Water Act. He has been known to support the interests
of ranchers and miners regarding land-use rights, given the needs
and interests of Nevada. Reid firmly believes that the nation needs
to take necessary steps towards foreign oil independence, while providing
citizens with temporary relief from high energy prices. As a critic
of the No Child Left Behind Act, he advocates for improvements to
the bill. He has supported the National Competitiveness Investment
Act in a bipartisan fashion with the rest of the Senate leadership.
Reid was born in Searchlight, NV. His father was a hard-rock miner.
He received a B.A. in political science from Utah State University
and received a law degree from George Washington University. He has
worked as a Capitol Hill police officer, an attorney, a state representative,
chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission and then as a member of the
House of Representatives before being elected to the Senate in 1986.
Assistant Majority Leader: Richard
"Dick" Durbin (D-IL), 62, is a good debater, often a
spokesman for the Democratic party and very knowledgeable about Senate
rules and procedures. He supports the farming community and promotes
the use of ethanol for energy. Recently he opposed the Senate offshore
drilling in the Gulf of Mexico bill, because he would like to see
a comprehensive energy plan that promotes conservation with energy
exploration. Durbin has repeatedly offered legislation to increase
vehicle energy efficiency standards, he has fought against the Department
of Defense regarding wind farms in Illinois, and he has been a leader
on legislation to channel record oil company profits to Americans
and to make it illegal for oil companies to alter supplies to drive
up prices at the pump. On education issues, Durbin has targeted unfair
lending practices for college tuition, has criticized cuts to student
aid programs and in his bill entitled "Reverse the Raid on Student
Aid" and has supported reduction of interest rates on student
loans and other incentives. Durbin was born in East St. Louis, IL.
He received his B.S. in international affairs and economics and his
law degree from Georgetown. He served as a legislative aide, attorney
and member of the House of Representatives before taking over the
Senate seat vacated by Paul Simon in 1997.
Budget: Kent Conrad
(D-ND), 58, is a moderate and fiscal conservative who has worked tirelessly
for reductions to the federal budget deficit, particularly targeting
foreign debt. Conrad supports energy efficiency, clean coal technology,
biofuels and wind energy. North Dakota has been estimated to have
the greatest potential for wind power in the nation. He also favors
releasing oil from the strategic petroleum reserves to moderate price
fluctuations and providing incentives to energy companies to produce
more oil domestically. His ideas are spelled out in legislation he
introduced in 2006 called the Breaking Our Long-term Dependence, or
BOLD, Energy Act. Conrad has some concerns about the No Child Left
Behind Act and believes the objectives of the act will require more
funding. He was not among the 40 senators who co-sponsored the National
Competitiveness Investment Act and he has not supported previous competitiveness
legislation. Conrad was born in Bismarck, ND. Conrad received an A.B.
in political science from Stanford and an MBA from George Washington
University. He was a personnel director and state tax commissioner
before joining the Senate.
Appropriations: Robert Byrd
(D-WV), 88, has been in Congress longer than any other member and
knows the rules and procedures very well, because he authored many
of them. Born into poverty, he has become one of the most powerful
senators in the country over his 47-years of service, although his
age and health are becoming more of a concern. The 110th Congress
will mark his third chairmanship of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Byrd introduced the Climate Change Strategy and Technology Innovation
Act with Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) which would commit $4 billion
over the next ten years to expand technology research on climate change
and create an administrative structure designed specifically to deal
with the issue. He has not been a co-sponsor of any of the competitiveness
legislation introduced by the 109th Congress, but he did support the
No Child Left Behind Act. He would like to see more funding for the
NCLB Act and for other education programs, including the Byrd Scholarships
for higher education. Byrd was born in North Wilkesboro, NC. He received
his B.A. in political science from Marshall University and his law
degree from American University. After graduating first in his high
school class, Byrd worked for 12 years to earn enough money for college;
he was a gas station attendant, grocery store clerk, shipyard welder
and a butcher. His first elected office was in the state legislature.
He also served in the U.S. House of Representatives for six years
before moving to the Senate.
Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science:
Elected to Congress in 1976, Barbara
Mikulski (D-MD) is known as a tough and persistent negotiator,
a hard worker and a strong supporter of science. She is a senior member
of the Appropriations Committee and most likely to assume the chair
for the science subcommittee. Mikulski does not have a stated opinion
on energy policy on her web site, however, she has opposed legislation
to open up additional area to offshore drilling in the past. On the
environment, Mikulski has fought to reduce air pollution, clean up
water pollution and wetlands and protect national health and drinking
water. She is a leading defender of the Chesapeake Bay, allotting
$20 million each year to mitigate pollution in the area. Mikulski
strongly supports NASA and the National Institutes of Health, both
of which have facilities in Maryland. She has been working hard to
double the National Science Foundation budget and has been a strong
supporter of the National Competitiveness Investment Act and other
competitiveness legislation. Mikulski was born in Baltimore, MD. Although
she initially wanted to be a chemist, she shifted majors in college
and received her B.A. degree in sociology from Mount Saint Agnes College
and an MSW from the University of Maryland. She was a social worker,
activist, Baltimore city councilor and member of the House of Representatives
before becoming the first woman elected outright to a seat in the
Energy and Natural Resources: Jeff
Bingaman (D-NM), 63, has been described as cerebral, logical and
unselfish. He prefers to have policy discussions rather than publicity
events. Bingaman helped to write the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and
works well with his fellow statesman, Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM)
who is the chair of the committee for the 109th Congress. Bingaman
would like to have additional incentives in U.S. energy policy, such
as tax benefits for conservation and more alternative energy options.
Both New Mexican senators support the national energy laboratories
within the state and elsewhere. Bingaman has opposed new offshore
drilling legislation. He is a strong advocate for nuclear energy,
clean coal and tougher vehicle emissions standards. Bingaman supports
science through competitiveness legislation, including the National
Competitiveness Investment Act, and also supports training students
to work in technology-related fields. He was born in El Paso, TX,
but grew up in the mining town of Silver City, NM. His father was
a science professor at Western New Mexico University, and his mother
taught in the public schools. He received an A.B. in government from
Harvard and a law degree from Stanford. He was a lawyer and the attorney
general of New Mexico before joining the Senate.
Commerce, Science and Transportation: Daniel
Inouye (D-HA), 82, has been described as a very private man and
a quiet negotiator. He has been in Congress longer than Hawaii has
been a state, serving as its territorial legislator initially and
he is the third most senior senator behind Senators Byrd and Kennedy.
He has a close working relationship with Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK),
partly because of their common interest in meeting the needs of their
native American constituents and partly because they have served together
for a long time as the senior senators from the two newest and only
non-contiguous states. Inouye has supported legislation to increase
offshore drilling in Alaska. Inouye supports science, particularly
ocean and geologic sciences related to the needs of the Hawaiian Islands.
He is also a strong supporter of competitiveness legislation, including
the National Competitiveness Investment Act. Inouye was born in Honolulu,
HI. He wanted to become a surgeon, but lost an arm while serving in
the U.S. Army during World War II. After spending some time in recuperation
with future Senator Bob Dole, Inouye received an A.B. in government
from the University of Hawaii and a law degree from George Washington
University. He was the territorial legislator and the first member
of the House of Representatives for Hawaii before being elected to
the Senate in 1962.
Environment and Public Works: Barbara
Boxer (D-CA), 65, is considered one of the most liberal and outspoken
members of the Senate and a strong advocate for the environment. She
opposed the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and opposes more offshore oil
drilling. She supports environmental protection and toughening standards
for water and air quality. She would like to make sure that polluters
pay for the clean-up of Superfund sites and other polluted areas.
She supports the California plan to reduce carbon emissions and plans
to introduce similar legislation in the Senate. She has already teamed
up with Senators Bingaman and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) to ask President
Bush to work with Congress on climate change legislation. In addition,
Boxer and the Democratic party have created two new subcommittees
on climate change with the Environment and Public Works Committee.
Boxer supports science and has co-sponsored competitiveness legislation,
including the National Competitiveness Investment Act. Boxer is also
an advocate for education and supported the No Child Left Behind Act,
though like many Democrats in the Senate, she believes the act is
significantly under funded. Boxer was born in Brooklyn, NY. She received
a B.A. in economics from Brooklyn College. She was a congressional
aide, journalist, stockbroker and a member of the House of Representatives
before becoming a Senator in 1993.
Health, Education, Labor and Pensions: Edward
Kennedy (D-MA), 74, has held office in Congress for 44 years.
Kennedy has a plan for energy independence by 2020 on his web site.
He has opposed legislation for more offshore drilling in the past.
He supports investment in alternative energy sources and stricter
regulations on mining and gas companies. Kennedy helped to craft the
No Child Left Behind Act, but has since criticized what he considers
neglect on the Administration's part to provide promised resources
to support testing requirements. Recently, he co-sponsored the National
Competitiveness Investment Act, meant to improve funding for science
research and education. He was born in Boston MA the youngest child
of the famous Kennedy family. He received an A.B. in government from
Harvard and a law degree from the University of Virginia. He served
in the U.S. Army and was the Suffolk County assistant district attorney
before being elected to fill President John F. Kennedy's vacated Senate
seat in 1962.
HOUSE: New Democratic Leaders and Committee Chairs Who Will Take
Over When the 110th Congress Convenes on January 3, 2007
Speaker of the House: Nancy
Pelosi (D-CA), 66, is soon to be the nation's first female leader
in Congress and the most powerful woman in U.S. history because she
will be third in line to the presidency. She has been an effective
party activist and she has the reputation for an uncanny ability to
unify a disparate group with competing interests. Pelosi's agenda
for the 110th Congress is the House Democratic party agenda. On energy,
the Democrats have developed a "New Direction for America's Energy
Policy" to punish gasoline price gouging, eliminate tax breaks
and incentives for oil companies, enhance investments and incentives
for biofuels, enhance investments and incentives for alternative energy
resources and promote energy conservation, particularly through improved
vehicle efficiency. The tax break for geological studies for oil exploration
would be targeted for elimination and the Democrats would generally
target other incentives for larger oil companies rather than incentives
for smaller companies. On science and education, the House Democrats
have developed an "Innovation Agenda" to keep America competitive
in the 21st century. The agenda includes creating an educated and
skilled workforce in science, engineering, math and technology; investing
in sustained federal research and development initiatives that promote
public-private partnerships, and achieving energy independence in
10 years. Some specific goals to achieve this agenda include doubling
the budget of the National Science Foundation; creating regional centers
of excellence in research; making college-tuition tax-deductible and
providing scholarships, both for students in science, math, engineering
and technology; and providing incentives for science, engineering,
math and technology teachers, who are or will be teaching in grades
K through 12. Pelosi was born in Baltimore, MD. Her father, Thomas
D'Alesandro was the mayor of Baltimore and a congressman. Pelosi received
her A.B. in government from Trinity College in D.C. She was a public
relations consultant, chairwoman of the California Democratic Party,
senatorial campaign committee finance chairwoman and a homemaker before
being elected to the House of Representatives in 1987. She represents
the 8th district of California which includes most of the city of
San Francisco. The major industries in the 8th are tourism, financial
services and health care.
Obey (D-WI), 68, is a proponent of fiscal discipline and has tried
to curb the Administration's spending on occasion. He is noted for
his intelligence, "irascible disposition" and legislative
skill. Obey chaired the Appropriations Committee for nine months in
1994 and was able to help ensure that all of the budget bills became
law by the start of the fiscal year. Since then, every budget appropriations
cycle has been completed after the start of the fiscal year. Obey
called for action on global warming on Earth Day 2006 and has criticized
the censorship of NASA climate scientist, James Hansen. Obey was born
in Okmulgee, OK. He received a B.S. and a M.A. in political science
from the University of Wisconsin. He was a real estate broker and
state legislator before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives
in 1969. He represents the 7th district of Wisconsin, which includes
Wausau, Superior and Stevens Point in the northwestern corner of the
state. The major industries in the 7th are agriculture, paper and
Education and Workforce: George
Miller (D-CA), 61, has the keen ability to cooperate with parties
that hold competing interests. He has also been called a "liberal
firebrand" whose priorities include education and the environment.
Miller has worked with current Chairman John A. Boehner (R-OH) on
the House Education and Workforce Committee to reduce hostility and
make the committee more productive. He helped create the House version
of the Higher Education Act and the No Child Left Behind Act. Miller
was born in Richmond, CA. He received a B.A. in political science
from San Francisco State University and a law degree from University
of California, Davis. He was a lawyer and state legislative aide before
being elected to the House in 1974. Miller represents the 7th district
of California, the northeastern Bay Area, including Vallejo and Richmond.
The major industries in the 7th include petrochemicals, steel, biotechnology,
agriculture and health care.
Energy and Commerce: John
Dingell (D-MI), 80, has the longest tenure in the House of Representatives
and is a firm believer in congressional oversight. During his 51-year
congressional career, he has served as Chairman of the Energy and
Commerce Committee for 14 years before the Republican party became
the majority. He supports the continued development of ethanol and
other biofuels. Dingell helped write the 1990 Clean Air Act and is
also a strong supporter of the Clean Water Act. In addition he is
known for his support of wildlife conservation. He supports efforts
to sustain the Great Lakes and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory is
located in Ann Arbor. Dingell was born in Colorado Springs, CO. He
served in the U.S. Army during World War II. He received a B.S. in
chemistry and a law degree from Georgetown University. He was a county
prosecutor before being elected to Congress in 1955. He represents
the 15th district of Michigan, which includes Ann Arbor, Taylor and
parts of Dearborn. The major industries in the 15th are auto and parts
manufacturing, higher education, medical research and steel.
Resources: Nick Rahall
(D-WV) has served in the House for 30 years and has focused on coal
and water resources throughout his tenure. He has supported mine health
and safety incentives, clean coal technology, coal liquefaction for
transportation fuel and many conservation programs. Rahall works closely
with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on water resource programs as
a leading member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
He has received awards from environmental groups for his work. He
co-sponsored the National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Act of 1992;
however, he was not a co-sponsor of the re-authorization of this act
in the 109th Congress. He helped to establish the Center for Environmental,
Geotechnical, and Applied Sciences at Marshall University in 1993.
Rahall was born in Beckley, WV. He received a B.A. in political science
from Duke University. He was a congressional aide to Senator Robert
Byrd, a travel agent and a broadcasting executive before being elected
to the House in 1976. Rahall represents the 3rd district of West Virginia.
The area is also known as the "coal district" because it
is home to five of ten of the state's top coal producing counties,
including the largest producing county in the state, Boone County.
Other major industries in the 3rd include wood products and tourism.
Science: Bart Gordon
(D-TN) has worked with current Chairman Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) to
create an atmosphere of cooperation and non-partisan accomplishment
in the House Committee on Science. Besides becoming the chairman of
the House Science Committee in the 110th Congress, Gordon will continue
to be a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. He is a
strong advocate for alternative fuel measures to decrease the nation's
dependency on oil. He opposes putting nuclear waste storage facilities
in Tennessee. Gordon sponsored three bills at the end of 2005 that
would have implemented many of the recommendations of the National
Academies report, 'Rising Above the Gathering Storm." He is a
strong advocate for increased funding for science and engineering,
particularly a doubling of the budget of the National Science Foundation
over 5 years. Gordon's website provides a list of science and math
resources from federal agencies for teachers and students in grades
K through 12. Gordon was born in Murfreesboro, TN. He received a B.S.
from Middle Tennessee State University, served in the Army Reserve
and received a law degree from University of Tennessee. He was a lawyer
and state party official before being elected to Congress in 1984.
Gordon represents the 6th district of Middle Tennessee - Murfreesboro,
with district growth spilling over from the Nashville population boom.
Major industries in the 6th include auto and textile manufacturing,
book and video distribution and tobacco.
For more information on these and other members of Congress, please
visit www.house.gov or www.senate.gov.
Each chamber contains a list of its members with links to their individual
Special update prepared by Linda Rowan, Directer of AGI Government
Affairs and Rachel Bleshman, AGI/AAPG Fall 2006 Intern.
Sources: National Journal, Congressional Quarterly, Washington
Post, New York Times, E&E Daily, Science, U.S. Senate, U.S. House
of Representatives and Thomas.
Please send any comments or requests for information to the AGI
Government Affairs Program.
Posted November 21, 2006