On Monday, October 5, 2020 Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) announced that he will not seek re-election in 2022, causing a shakeup in the future of the Senate Banking Committee leadership. The analysis below spells out the musical chairs at the Senate Banking Committee for the next Congress and beyond.
Senate Banking Committee Leadership (2020-2028)
Senator Toomey is expected to be the incoming Banking Committee Chair (or Ranking Member if Republicans lose control of the Senate) and will likely hold that position for two years until he retires from public service. Senator Toomey said today that as the incoming Republican leader of the Banking Committee, he would like to focus on housing finance reform, expanding investment opportunities for middle-income Americans, fintech issues, payment systems, digital currency, and CFPB reform.
The most senior Republican on the Banking Committee after Senator Toomey is Senator Tim Scott (R-SC). Senator Scott is up for re-election in 2022 and, as of now, would be a favorite to win given South Carolina’s conservative tilt (N.B.: Senator Scott has already indicated that 2022 will be his last Senate re-election bid. Senator Scott is also often mentioned as someone who could possibly run for national office in 2024).
Here is how the Republican Senate Banking Committee Leadership will likely look for the next several years:
2020: Senator Crapo (R-ID) will serve as Chair for the rest of this year.
2020-2022: Senator Toomey (R-PA) is next in line for Chair or Ranking Member.
2022-2028: Senator Scott (R-SC) will likely serve as Chair or Ranking Member (assuming he wins re-election in 2022).
Fun fact: In 2021, if Republicans maintain control of the Senate, there will be three sitting Senators on the Banking Committee who have served as Banking Chair at some point (Senators Toomey, Crapo, and Shelby).
N.B.: Senate Democrats do not have Committee leadership term limits, so Senator Brown (D-OH) will be the lead Democrat on the Senate Banking Committee for as long as he is a Senator, or unless there is another Committee leadership opening that he would prefer. Senator Brown is up for re-election in 2024. Unlike some Democratic Senators who may be tapped to serve in a Biden Administration should Biden win the White House, Senator Brown is not expected to vacate the Senate because his replacement would be appointed by the Republican Governor of Ohio, thus costing the Democrats a seat in the Senate.
The next most senior Democrat on the Banking Committee after Senator Brown is Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), but Senator Reed is currently the Democratic head of the Armed Services Committee (a position he enjoys given his military background) and will likely not give up that post anytime soon. After Senator Reed, Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) is next in the Banking Committee line of succession but Senator Menendez is the lead Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, so he would have to give up that post, which he is unlikely to do. Finally, after Senator Menendez is Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), who also serves on other Committees but would likely take the Banking Committee reins if given the opportunity.
Senator Toomey’s announcement means that Pennsylvania Republicans will not have their most high-profile politician on the ballot during the 2022 midterms in the critical swing state. There are obvious ripple effects on the leadership in the Banking Committee and the overall makeup of the Senate at a time when partisan politics seem very deeply rooted in the upper chamber.
The 2020 election is only 27 days away and regardless of the outcome Senator Toomey will be the most senior Republican on the Senate Banking Committee for the next two years. SFA will keep a close eye on election results and any other announcements from Senators who are out of cycle that can impact the Committee’s makeup and policy agenda in the 117th Congress.