The Senate Armed Services Committee will have significant turnover in the 116th Congress, after the Republican Conference on Wednesday released a preliminary committee roster with five new members. The committee’s Democratic lineup released last month included three new members. The five new GOP members were all elected to the Senate for the first time in November — former Reps. Martha McSally (Ariz.); Kevin Cramer (N.D.) and Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.); as well as former Florida Gov. Rick Scott and former Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley. They will replace Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Ben Sasse (Neb.), Tim Scott (S.C.) and Jon Kyl (Ariz.).
The additions are significant for Arizona, Florida and Missouri, which otherwise would have lost their representation on the committee. McSally, a former A-10 pilot who had served on House Armed Services, is a natural fit. Last month Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey named her to fill the late Sen. John McCain’s seat once Kyl, who had filled the seat since September, stepped down at the end of the year. McSally can be expected to remain an advocate for the A-10 Warthog, reports Defense News.
Two states with a large military presence, South Carolina and Texas, no longer will have a member on the committee.
On the Democratic side, the new members for the 116th Congress are Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Tammy Duckworth (Ill.) and Doug Jones (Ala.); they will fill the seats left by the departure of Bill Nelson (Fla.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.) and Joe Donnelly (Ind.). Each party’s committee assignments still must be ratified by the full Senate. The GOP assignments need to be ratified by the Republican Conference as well.
DoD photo by Navy Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Kathryn Holm