The 118th Congress Begins: An Update on Capitol Hill

January 11, 2023

The 118th Congress began January 3, 2023, with a contentious election for Speaker of the House. Due to the multi-day election, members of the House of Representatives were not sworn in until January 7, initiating delays in committee assignments, rules for how the House runs during this session, and the ability of Representatives to do their day-to-day work. All pending legislation expired at the end of 2022 and will need to be reintroduced for the 118th Congress.

With a new Congress there are also changes in leadership for committees with jurisdiction over health care, which will have an impact on our work to advance the advocacy priorities set by ASCO’s Government Relations Committee this year. ASCO however is well-positioned to pivot priorities and support with guidance from volunteer leaders to accommodate these changes. 

The Capitol reopened to visitors on January 3, after years of strict COVID-19 and security procedures which hampered the ability of lobbyists and constituents to meet with Members of Congress and their staff. This will lead to increased visibility for ASCO in our efforts to advance legislative priorities that impact oncology and patients with cancer.

Additionally, the ASCO Association Political Action Committee (PAC) is developing its new funding plan after a successful election cycle. During the 2022 midterm election, the PAC supported 28 cancer care champions in Congress, and all 28 won their re-election. The PAC will be integral in developing and sustaining relationships in the new Congress.

Summary of the 118th Congress Leadership:

The Senate is now comprised of 51 Democrats and 49 Republicans, giving them a true majority after two years of a 50-50 split. Control of the House of Representatives switched from Democratic to Republican majority with 222 Republicans and 212 Democrats with one vacancy left by the death of Rep. Donald McEachin (D-VA).

As widely reported, the narrow majority in the House already led to tension with the election for Speaker of the House beginning on January 3 and extending past one round of votes for the first time in 100 years. After 15 rounds of voting, Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was elected Speaker. 

Here is a snapshot of leadership on key committees of jurisdiction over health care issues:

U.S. House of Representatives U.S. Senate
Ways & Means Committee
Chair: Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO)
Ranking Member: Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA)
Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee
Chair: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Ranking Member: Sen. Bill Cassidy, MD (R-LA)
Energy & Commerce Committee
Chair: Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers (R-WA)
Ranking Member: Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ)
Finance Committee
Chair: Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR)
Ranking Member: Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID)
Appropriations Committee
Chair: Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX)
Ranking Member: Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)
Appropriations Committee
Chair: Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA)
Ranking Member: Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)