Republicans appear to have the momentum to gain the six seats they need to take the Senate in Tuesday’s midterm elections. But the possibility of runoffs in Georgia and Louisiana means the majority could remain undecided into the next Congress.
Even if Democrats lose Senate control, Republicans aren’t expected to snag many seats beyond a small majority. Regardless of the results, the Senate and House Armed Services Committees will get new leadership, and several other key national security committees could see a changeover if Republicans take control of the Senate.
Here’s a look at how things could shake up after Tuesday’s midterm elections:
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., and House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif., are retiring this year after serving 18 terms and nearly 60 years between them.
Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., is in line to take over the committee if the Democrats keep the Senate, and Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., would likely remain ranking member. Levin endorsed Reed for the job last year, and he is known as a behind-the-scenes dealmaker and “strong on defense” Democrat with robust support from the defense industry. Like Levin, Reed is close to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, an important partnership as the Pentagon pursues more cost savings, such as another round of base closures, and further relief from sequestration. The Rhode Island Democrat is also a Vietnam veteran. He currently chairs the Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower, and also serves on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.
But Reed’s aide said Thursday he has not decided whether he wants to chair SASC or the banking committee, where he is also the senior-most Democrat behind a retiring chairman, and that he will decide after the elections, in consultation with colleagues.