Election Results Equal Open Seats on Key Committees

Published by Michael Novogradac on Monday, November 12, 2012 - 12:00am

While a lot of attention has been focused on the results of the presidential election, for the tax credit community, the election’s effect on a few key congressional committees may be even more significant.

Party conferences will convene before the start of the next Congress to determine committee assignments. Because Democrats retained control of the Senate and Republicans retained control of the House in the 113th Congress, the committee leadership changes predicted in my Washington Wire column in this month’s Novogradac Journal of Tax Credits remain unchanged.

In addition to those changes, the election results mean membership slots will open up on a number of committees.

On the House Ways and Means Committee, assuming ratios do not change, there will be five slots available for new members – for three Republicans and two Democrats:

  • Rep. Wally Herger, R-Calif., is retiring,
  • Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif., was defeated in the election,
  • Rep. Geoff Davis, R-Ky., resigned earlier this year, and
  • Rep. Rick Berg, R-N.D., and Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., were both defeated seeking election to the Senate

Key candidates on the Democrat side are Reps. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., and Allyson Schwartz, D-Pa. For Republicans, frequently discussed possibilities include Reps. Tim Griffin, R-Ark., Kristi Noem, R-S.D., Reid Ribble, R-Wis., Todd Rokita, R-Ind., and Tim Scott, R-S.C.

The House Financial Services Committee will see considerable turnover; there will be 12 slots available for new members, assuming ratios do not change – seven for Republicans and five for Democrats.

On the Republican side:

  • Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, retired,
  • Rep. Donald Manzullo , R-Ill., was defeated in the primary, and
  • Reps. Judy Biggert,R-Ill., Nan Hayworth, R-N.Y., Robert Dold, R-Ill., Francisco Canseco, R-Texas, and Frank Guinta, R-N.H., were defeated in the election.

On the Democrat side:

  • Ranking Member Barney Frank, D-Mass., retired, as did Reps. Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y., and Brad Miller, D-N.C.,
  • Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., was elected to the Senate, and
  • Rep. Joe Baca, D-Calif., was defeated in the election.

Four membership slots on the Senate Finance Committee will become available, assuming ratios do not change, as a result of retirements, two Republican and two Democratic seats. Those seats are being vacated by Sens. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, and Jon Kyl, R-Ariz. It is quite possible that ratios will change and the Republicans will have one fewer seat on the committee. Republicans that could potentially be added to the committee include: Sens. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., Rob Portman, R-Ohio, or Jim DeMint, R-S.C. Likely Democrats to fill the open seat could be: Sens. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., Mark Warner D-Va., or Robert Casey, D-Pa.

The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs will have two seats available in the 113th, assuming ratios do not change, with the retirements of Sens. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, and Herb Kohl, D-Wis.