Senate Democrats are shaking up the lineup of subcommittee chairmen from one end of the body to the other, thanks primarily a new “power-sharing” rule intended to put the gavel in the hands of as many members of the new majority as possible.
The rule requires chairmen of the Senate’s top committees — Appropriations, Defense, Foreign Affairs, etc. — to ensure that every Democrat on a panel gets a shot at wielding the gavel running a subcommittee.
Top Democrats like Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and others wanted to delay the rule, but Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) pushed it forward, with a result that the only three Democrats without a subcommittee gavel now are Leahy, Dick Durbin of Illinois and Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
With new subcommittee chairmanships for senators come opportunities to hire additional Senate staffers and to promote others from existing positions.
But that sword swings both ways, creating new jobs for the majority but, when there is a change in the majority party, as there was this year, the new minority senators find themselves having to downsize their subcommittee staffs.
Check out this Roll Call story today for more details on the subcommittee changes. If you are a Senate subcommittee staffer who is being negatively affected by this process and need to talk it through confidentially, check out the HillFaith Office Hours in the right sidebar.