With Democrats retaining control of the Senate in the November elections, leadership ranks of key committees with an impact on government technology and cybersecurity issues are mostly unchanged, but with some new wrinkles due to member retirements.

Appropriations Committee

The Appropriations Committee – which has an outsized role in determining Federal government and agency funding for IT and cyber issues – is seeing new top leadership from both sides of aisle.

With the retirement of committee chair Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., has become the new chair. And with the retirement of ranking member Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, has become the new ranking member.

Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee

This committee is the chief oversight panel for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and a very active creator of legislation impacting cybersecurity and Federal IT issues.

The committee continues to be chaired by Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., While Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is the new ranking member.

Armed Services Committee

The Armed Services Committee oversees the Defense Department – and everything it does on the cybersecurity front – along with all other matters related to the common defense of the country.

Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., will continue to serve as the committee’s chairman.  Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., is the new ranking member, succeeding the retired Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Iowa.

Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee

This committee oversees a vast set of issues including communications, technology, highways, interstate commerce, and consumer issues, among many others.

The committee will continue to be chaired by Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., with Sen. Wicker as ranking member.

Select Committee on Intelligence

The committee oversees U.S. government intelligence activities and programs, with oversight including making sure that intelligence activities conform to U.S. law.

The committee will continued to be chaired by Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., while the vice chairman will continue to be Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.

Committee on Veterans’ Affairs

The committee oversees veterans issues and the Department of Veterans Affairs is chaired by Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont. The committee’s ranking member is Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan.

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Jose Rascon
Jose Rascon
Jose Rascon is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.