With the change in control of the Congress, there will be a number of new leaders. In the U.S. Senate: Harry Reid (D-NV) will serve as Majority Leader and Dick Durbin (D-IL) will be Majority Whip. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will serve as Minority Leader and Trent Lott (R-MS) as Minority Whip. Durbin serves on the Senate Ag Appropriations subcommittee, and McConnell is a member of the Senate Ag Committee.
In the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will be the first female Speaker of the House. The new Majority Leader will be Steny Hoyer (D-MD), while James Clyburn (D-SC) will be the new Majority Whip. Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) says he won't serve as a leader of the House Republicans. Republicans were electing their new leaders at press time.
On the House & Senate Ag Committees, Collin Peterson (D-MN) will be the new chairman of the House Ag Committee, with Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) serving as Ranking Member. There will be at least seven new members of the House Ag Committee. About 75% of the new committee members have never been through a farm bill debate.
Meanwhile in the U.S. Senate, Tom Harkin (D-IA) will serve as chairman of the Senate Ag Committee, while Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) will be the Ranking Member. The Democratic leadership has appointed Senators-elect Bob Casey (D-PA), Amy Klobachar (D-MN), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) as new members of the committee. The Republican leadership will make their appointments next month.
-- P. Scott Shearer, Washington, D.C., correspondent