The changes Reid seeks reflect Democrats’ two-seat gain in last week’s elections, provided both independent senators caucus with them.
“Be nice to me, I’m moving up in the world,” Sanders joked in an interview Monday. He vowed to pursue a number of priorities next year that have been laid out by Murray, who currently heads the panel. “I’m going to pick up where she left off.”
Sanders has been a liberal champion of generous veterans health care and job training initiatives, just as Murray has been. Likewise, Cantwell on the Indian Affairs panel has advocated for programs that serve American Indians and their members, following the interests of retiring chairman Daniel K. Akaka of Hawaii.
Republicans are likely to wait, perhaps until January, to elect ranking members of Senate committees.
Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said that after Republicans appoint senators to committees, the GOP conference will elect a roster of ranking members. Any challenger for one of the seats would have to persuade the caucus to reject the full lineup.
Corker is in line to become the top Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, succeeding Richard G. Lugar of Indiana, who lost his primary contest.