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Member Advisory

November 5, 2014

The Midterm Elections and Implications for Congress

This advisory serves to update HACU members on some implications for higher education policy of the November 4, 2014 midterm elections.

January 2015 will see the first session of the 114th Congress. As you may know, each Congress lasts for two years and is made up of two sessions, each lasting a calendar year. Yesterday’s election gives control of both chambers of Congress to the Republicans as they gained a majority in the Senate and increased their majority in the House of Representatives.

Overall, based on preliminary reports, the number of Hispanics in the 114th Congress will increase by two and is expected to reach a total of 30 in the House of Representatives as of January 2015.

During the next few months, Congress is expected to follow its usual procedures after elections to choose new congressional leadership. The House of Representatives and Senate will reorganize and select their new committee chairs. Congressional leadership will also choose which members of Congress will be on each of the committees, since the committee membership by party will also change as a result of the elections. Committee membership and participation roughly mirrors the proportion of members by each political party to the Congress. The majority party has more members on each committee than the minority party.

Two committees that play a key role in education policy and that work to frame the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act are the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee and the House Education and the Workforce Committee. The House committee is expected to remain under Chairman John Kline (R-MN). However, ranking member George Miller’s retirement leaves the head Democratic seat on this committee open. With the party majority change in the Senate, the Senate HELP Committee will have a new chairman. Current ranking member, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), will likely be the new chair and the Democrats will have a new ranking member, expected to be Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), since Senator Harkin is retiring at the end of the current Congress.

HACU government relations staff will continue to monitor Congress’ progress as it settles into its new Committee structure with new chairmen and members. For additional government relations updates, please follow @HACUDC on Twitter or email.

HACU Member Advisories are a service of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities