November 20, 2016
Republicans retain control of Congress, but margins narrow
Republican majorities in the just-elected 115th Congress will be slightly smaller than in the current Congress: 52-48 in the Senate, a two-vote shift with Louisiana’s December run-off still to come, and 238-193 in the House, a six-vote shift with four races not yet final. The lame duck 114th Congress returned this week, largely to focus on organizing and choosing leaders for the next Congress, and will return after Thanksgiving to complete the session.
In the House, Republicans voted to re-elect Paul Ryan (OH) as speaker (the official election with the entire House will occur in January). Democrats delayed their elections until Nov. 30, and will choose between two candidates for minority leader: Nancy Pelosi (CA), who is running for re-election, and Tim Ryan (OH), who threw his hat into the ring on Thursday. The leaders of the House Education and the Workforce Committee will be Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Bobby Scott (D-VA). The leaders of the House Appropriations Committee are expected to be Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) and Nita Lowey (D-NY).
In the Senate, the GOP leadership team remains the same: Mitch McConnell (KY) as majority leader, John Cornyn (TX) as whip, and John Thune (SD) as conference chair. The Democrats’ new team includes 10 senators: Chuck Schumer (NY) as minority leader and conference chair, Dick Durbin (IL) as whip, Patty Murray (WA) as assistant leader, Debbie Stabenow (MI) as policy and communications committee chair, Elizabeth Warren (MA) and Mark Warner (VA) as conference vice chairs, Amy Klobuchar (MN) as steering committee chair, Bernie Sanders (VT) as outreach chair, Joe Manchin (WV) as policy and communications committee vice chair, and Tammy Baldwin (WI) as conference secretary. The leaders of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee will continue to be Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA). The leaders of the Senate Appropriations Committee will be Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT).
Tell Congress to invest in students, especially those most in need
With the stopgap funding bill passed before the election set to expire on December 9, House Republican leaders this week signaled that they will not advance a full-year spending measure. Instead, at the request of the incoming Trump administration, they will extend current funding levels through March 31.
Congress still needs to hear that America needs to invest more in key education programs to help close opportunity gaps and fulfill the potential of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Click on the button and tell Congress to do better by our students, especially those most in need.
Cheers and Jeers
Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Representatives David Joyce (R-OH) and Mark Takano (D-CA) for sponsoring the American Education Week resolution.
House Republican leadership for opting against completing funding bills this year and punting decisions into next year.