Special Issue - Elections 2018

Publication Number 70 November 7, 2018

On the day after the 2018 U.S. general elections, the following is known about the impact of the elections on the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce and the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

With the Democrats taking over the majority in the House of Representatives, it is likely that Bobby Scott (D-VA) will become Chair of the Committee on Education and the Workforce. In addition, the ratio of members from each party (currently, 22 Republicans and 17 Democrats) will flip, although the ratio may change depending on the size of the Democratic majority. The election of committee and subcommittee Chairs will take place when the 116th Congress begins in January 2019.

If history is any indication, it is likely that about one-third of the House Education Committee members will be new to the committee, due not only to election wins and losses but also to retirements and new committee assignments. It is a significant challenge to educate the new members of the committee and their staff on higher education issues, including accreditation.

With the Republicans retaining their majority in the Senate, the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions likely will continue to be chaired by Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN). Due to the retirement of Orrin Hatch (R-UT), the Republicans will have to replace at least one member of the committee. All Democratic Senators who were up for reelection won their seats so there may be no change to the members of the committee on this side of the aisle. 

The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) will continue to update CHEA members and accreditation stakeholders as details of the transition to the new Congress become known.