New England Congressional Delegation is Poised for Influential 117th Congress

January 29, 2021

Paired with the Democrats’ House majority secured in the 2018 midterm elections, several New England Members of Congress are poised to control influential committees and leadership positions in both houses of Congress.

Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA-2): Chair of the House Rules Committee
Congressman McGovern has represented central Massachusetts since 1997. The Rules Committee has jurisdiction over nearly all legislation voted on in the House of Representatives. The Committee governs the rules by which the House operates, including which bills are voted on and how debate proceeds. As Chair of the Committee, McGovern will work closely with House leadership to determine the agenda for the congressional term ahead.

Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA-1): Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee
Congressman Neal has represented western Massachusetts since 1989. He now leads the influential Ways & Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over federal tax provisions. As President Biden and Democrats pursue an aggressive agenda, questions over how taxes will be raised or lowered are sure to be part of any legislative conversation.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-3): Chair of the House Appropriations Committee
Congresswoman DeLauro represents the New Haven area and has served in Congress since 1991. The House Appropriations Committee has jurisdiction over almost all legislation passed by the federal government. Once spending is authorized by annual budgets, the Appropriations Committee assigns each dollar to specific agencies, programs, and projects. DeLauro will therefore have an opportunity to weigh in on nearly every aspect of government funding in the 117th Congress.

Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA-5)
While Congresswoman Clark, who has represented Boston’s suburbs since 2013, does not chair a committee, she was elected Assistant Speaker of the House by the Democratic Caucus this year. The position makes Clark the fourth ranking Democrat in the House. The top three positions are all held by octogenarians, signaling that Clark, 57, could have a bright future in Democratic leadership ahead of her.

While the below chairmanships have not been officially announced, these Senators, having held Ranking Member positions in the 116th Congress, are presumably in line to assume chairmanships for the forthcoming Congress.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT): Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee
Senator Leahy is the longest tenured member of the Senate, having served since 1975. He is the fifth longest serving Senator in American history. Like DeLauro in the House, Leahy’s chairmanship of the Senate Appropriations Committee means he will have a role in directing all federal spending in the years to come.

Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI): Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee
Senator Reed, who has represented Rhode Island in the Senate since 1997, is in line to Chair the Senate Armed Services Committee. An Army veteran himself, Reed’s committee has jurisdiction over the United States Military, conducting oversight over national defense, overseas operations, and military acquisitions.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT): Chair of the Senate Budget Committee
Senator Sanders, who along with Senator Leahy has represented Vermont in the Senate since 2007, will now chair the Senate Budget Committee. While Leahy’s Appropriations Committee directs federal spending to specific destinations, the Budget Committee drafts the topline figures of federal spending. With Democrats sure to push an aggressive agenda, Sanders will surely seek to shepherd through an expansive budget that funds a wide range of progressive priorities.

Share This