112th Senate and House Committee Changes

The 2010 federal elections resulted in a Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate remaining under a Democratic—albeit slimmer—majority. The House completed assignment of committee leadership and members by late January and the Senate recently announced the majority of its changes. We provide you with an update of major Committees of importance to tribes in the House and Senate.


Committee on Natural Resources. The Committee on Natural Resources, which oversees legislation and matters related to Native American affairs, is now under the chairmanship of Representative Doc Hastings (R-WA). Representative Edward Markey (D-MA) is the Ranking Member. Chairman Hastings chose to elevate the Office of Indian Affairs to the status of Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs. Hastings’ district in central Washington includes the Yakama Nation. The Committee adopted an oversight plan that places a priority on “1) job creation and economic growth, and 2) reducing spending and eliminating unnecessary, duplicative and unaffordable government programs.” The blue print of oversight activities for the full Committee and Subcommittees is available at

The new Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs is chaired by Representative Don Young (R-AK), with Representative Dan Boren (D-OK) as the Ranking Member. Chairman Young served as Chairman of the full Committee from 1995 to 2001 and has a great deal of experience in Native American issues. Major issues before the Subcommittee will likely include energy development and land use regulations, self-determination, land transfers, the Carcieri fix, and review of the San Manuel labor law decision. The members of the Subcommittee are:

Don Young (AK), ChairmanDan Boren (OK), Ranking Member
Tom McClintock (CA)Dale Kildee, (MI)
Jeff Denham (CA)Ben Luján (NM)
Dan Benishek (MI)Colleen Hanabusa (HI)
Paul Gosar (AZ)Edward Markey (MA) (ex-officio)
Raúl Labrador (ID)
Kristi Noem (SD)
Doc Hastings (WA) (ex-officio)

Committee on Appropriations. The full Appropriations Committee, which has been reduced from 60 to 50 members, is chaired by Harold Rogers (R-KY). Rogers defeated Representatives Jerry Lewis (R-CA), who was the Ranking Member of the Committee in the last Congress but was term-limited, and Jack Kingston (R-GA) to become Chairman. Representative Norm Dicks (D-WA), who served as Chairman of the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee in the last Congress, is the Ranking Member.
Members of the Subcommittee on Interior, Environment & Related Agencies are:

Mike Simpson (ID), ChairmanJames P. Moran (VA), Ranking Member
Jerry Lewis (CA)Betty McCollum (MN)
Ken Calvert (CA)Maurice D. Hinchey (NY)
Steven C. LaTourette (OH)José E. Serrano (NY)*
Tom Cole (OK)
Jeff Flake (AZ) *
Cynthia M. Lummis (WY)*
*denotes new to Subcommittee

The Chair and Ranking Members for other key Appropriations subcommittees are as follows:
Subcommittee on Transportation, HUD & Related Agencies – Tom Latham
(R-IA) as Chairman and John W. Olver (D-MA) as Ranking Member; Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education & Related Agencies – Denny Rehberg
(R-MT), Chairman and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Ranking Member; and Subcommittee on Energy & Water – Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), Chairman and Peter J. Visclosky
(D-IN), Ranking Member.

Committee on Education and Labor. The Committee leadership roles are reversed from the 112th Congress with Representative John Kline (R-MN) as Chairman and George Miller (D-CA) as the Ranking Member. The Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education is chaired by Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and Dale Kildee (D-MI) is the Ranking Member. The Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Chairman is Phil Roe (R-TN) and Robert Andrews (D-NJ) is the Ranking Member.

Committee on Transportation. The Committee is chaired by John Mica (R-FL), who was Ranking Member in the last Congress. Nick Rahall (D-WV), who previously served as Chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, serves as the Ranking Member.

Committee on Ways and Means. Committee Chair and Ranking Member positions are reversed from the 111th Congress, with Representative Dave Camp (R-MI) chairing the Committee and Sander Levin (D-MI) serving as the Ranking Member.

Information on other committees and subcommittees may be accessed via or the House Committees website:


Senate Committee on Appropriations. Returning in their previous positions on the full Appropriations Committee is Daniel Inouye (D-HI) as Chairman and Thad Cochran (R-MS) as the Ranking Member. The biggest change is the addition of seven Republican Members—Lindsey Graham (SC), Mark Kirk (IL), Roy Blunt (MO), Jerry Moran (KS), Dan Coats (IN), John Hoeven (ND), and Ron Johnson (WI). The lone new Democratic Member is Sherrod Brown of Ohio.

The Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Subcommittee has a new Chair and Ranking Member; membership is as follows:

Jack Reed (D-RI), ChairmanLisa Murkowski (R-AK), Ranking Member
Dianne Feinstein (CA)Lamar Alexander (TN)
Patrick J. Leahy (VT)Thad Cochran (MS)
Barbara A. Mikulski (MD)Susan Collins (ME)
Herb Kohl (WI)Ron Johnson (WI)*
Tim Johnson (SD)Roy Blunt (MO)*
Ben Nelson (NE)John Hoeven (ND)*
Jon Tester (MT)
Mary L. Landrieu (LA)*
*denotes new to Subcommittee

The leadership of other key Appropriations subcommittees are: Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development Chair is Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) is the new Ranking Member. Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies continues to be chaired by Senator Tom Harkin (IA) but the new Ranking Member is Senator Richard Shelby
(R-AL). The Subcommittee on Transportation, HUD & Related Agencies also has a returning Chair, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), but has a new Ranking Member, Senator Susan Collins (R-ME).

Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI) is the new Chairman of the Committee on Indian Affairs. Senator Akaka stated in a news release that he looks forward to “working to address the complex issues facing the indigenous people of our country.” Returning as Vice Chair is John Barrasso (R-WY). The Committee members are:


Daniel Akaka (D-HI), ChairJohn Barrasso (R-WY), Ranking Member
Daniel K. Inouye (HI)John McCain (AZ)
Kent Conrad (ND)Lisa Murkowski (AK)
Tim Johnson (SD)Michael D. Crapo (ID)
Maria Cantwell (WA)Mike Johanns (NE)
Jon Tester (MT)

Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Committee leadership remains the same as in the 111th Congress with Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) as Chair and Michael Enzi (R-WY) as the Ranking Member. New to the Committee are Senators Sheldon Whitehorse (D-RI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Rand Paul (R-KY) and Mark S. Kirk (R-IL).

Information on other committees and subcommittees may be accessed via or the Senate Committees website :

We will continue to follow and report on committee changes in the 112th Congress.