U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., is the new chairman of the powerful Senate Rules Committee.
Lawmakers have spent much of this week organizing the new Republican-led 114th Congress. Part of the ritual requires both the Republican and Democratic Caucuses in each chamber to back resolutions on committee creation. Lawmakers then finalize those resolutions with votes in their respective chambers.
That process began on Wednesday, with Blunt confirmed as committee chairman on Thursday.
“I’m honored that my colleagues chose me to fill this important role in the 114th Congress. I’m confident that we can restore and uphold the Senate’s tradition of open debate in a more transparent and accountable way for the American people,” Blunt said in a statement.
Officially it’s the Committee on Rules and Administration, but most simply call it “The Rules Committee.”
Blunt has been a member of the committee since 2011.
The Rules Committee is one of the oldest and most powerful committees in each chamber of Congress. In the Senate, the origins of the committee date to the first Senate in 1789. The committee is responsible for the "the internal management of the Senate, as well as responsibility for legislation establishing federal election laws," according to the Senate's website. It also oversees congressional buildings, the credentials of senators, including dealing with contested elections.
Because of the Senate's tradition of open debate, it is not as powerful as the corresponding House committee, which has the power to set the terms of debate for various legislative proposals.