The Republicans enjoyed the largest increase in House seats for either party since 1948, but failed to gain the 10 seats needed to take the Senate. This means that Democrats will lose control of the House Financial Services Committee, but maintain their grasp on the Chairman's gavel in the Senate Banking Committee. However, both Committees will look very different in the 112th Congress. Congressional leaders are expected to decide upon committee sizes and assignments before the end of the year, most likely during the “lame duck” session of this Congress scheduled to begin November 15, 2010.
The ratio of Democrats to Republicans in the House Financial Services Committee, currently 42 to 29, will roughly flip depending on each party’s preference. Since 13 and possibly 15 Democrats on the Committee lost their elections, Democrats will not have to remove members and might even need to add one or two members. Considering the Republican’s margin of victory and the three Republican committee members who chose to retire, Republicans can be expected to add approximately 10-14 new members to the Committee.
The reduced Democratic majority in the Senate means that the ratio of Democrats to Republicans on the Banking Committee, currently 13 to 10, is expected to be closer, likely 12 to 11. This means that Democrats will probably add a new member (with two retiring members) and Republicans will add four (due to three of their party either retiring or losing).
Senate Banking Committee
- The retirement of Chris Dodd (D-CT) will leave the Committee’s chairmanship in the hands of the more conservative Tim Johnson (D-SD), who will likely give up his chairmanship of the Financial Institutions Subcommittee.
- The retirement of Evan Bayh (D-IN) will leave a vacancy at the chairman’s seat on the Security and International Trade and Finance Subcommittee, to be assumed by another Democrat.
- Michael Bennet (D-CO) survived his close Senate race, and his seniority status on the Committee will advance due to the retirement of the two senior Democratic Committee members.
- Senior Republican Senator Robert Bennett (UT) lost his seat in his state’s Republican primary, making room for a new GOP Committee member.
- The retirement of Securities, Insurance, and Investment Subcommittee Ranking Member Jim Bunning (R-KY) makes room for a top Republican on that Subcommittee.
House Financial Services Committee
- With the change of the House’s majority, the Financial Service Committee Chairman’s gavel will likely be transferred from Barney Frank (D-MA) to former Ranking Member Spencer Bachus (R-AL) despite interest from active Committee member Ed Royce (R-CA).
- The 2010 elections hit the Financial Services Committee Democrats particularly hard, with 13 to 15 of the 42 Democrats on the Committee either retiring or losing their seats.
- 10 to 11 of the losing Democrats were elected in 2006 or 2008. The highest ranking loss was Paul Kanjorski (PA), Chairman of the Capital Markets, Insurance, and GSE Subcommittee.
- Retiring Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Dennis Moore (D-KS) leaves a vacancy at the new Ranking Member seat on that Subcommittee.
- The races of Democrats Melissa Bean (IL, co-sponsor of legislation which would establish an optional federal charter for insurance) and lowest seniority freshman Dan Maffei (NY) have yet to be called, but both trial by razor-thin margins.
- Republicans lost three committee members, all to higher ambitions; Michael Castle (DE), Gresham Barrett (SC), and Adam Putnam (FL) ran for Senator, Governor, and Commissioner of Agriculture, respectively, in their states. Castle and Barrett lost their primary elections, and Putnam won the general election.