Sen. Chuck Grassley says he’ll give up his chairmanship of the Senate Judiciary Committee to lead the Finance panel when the 116th Congress convenes in January.

The Iowa Republican announced his plans today in a news release, noting that he’d previously served as Finance chair in 2001 and from January 2003 to January 2007. He also served as ranking member from June 2001 to January 2003 and from January 2007 to January 2011.

“The economy is better than it’s been in years and there’s a sense of optimism about the future of our country that people haven’t felt in a long time thanks to the pro-growth policies of a Republican president and a Republican majority in Congress,” Grassley said.

While the Judiciary Committee plays a critical role in the confirmation of judicial appointees, including Supreme Court justices, the Finance panel has jurisdiction over a wide range of important issues, including taxes and trade as well as Medicare and Medicaid.

“Looking ahead, at the Finance Committee, I want to continue to work to make sure that as many Americans as possible get to experience this good economy for themselves,” Grassley said. “That means working to provide Americans with additional tax relief and tax fairness so they can spend more of their hard-earned money on what’s important to them.”

“It means giving small businesses more of the tools they need to hire additional workers, invest in their companies and give their employees the benefits and wages they’ve earned. It means expanding market opportunities for farmers, manufacturers and service providers to export more ‘Made-in-America’ goods and services all across the globe for the benefit of workers in all of these valued sectors of the American economy. And it means improving the affordability, quality and accessibility of health care, including in rural America. There’s always more that can be done to help make life better for and empower every individual and family. I look forward to working with other senators, both Republican and Democratic, to get the job done.”

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Grassley would replace retiring Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah as Finance chairman. The 85-year-old lawmaker is also expected to replace Hatch as president pro tempore of the Senate, presiding over the legislative body in the absence of the vice president. By custom, the position goes to the senator of the majority party with the longest record of continuous service. Grassley was first elected to his seat in 1980.

Senate Republican Conference rules limit service as chairman and ranking member to six years or three Congresses for each role. Grassley is eligible to serve as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee for one full Congress. The president pro tem of the Senate is also third in line of succession to the presidency, behind the vice president and the Speaker of the House.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, who has strenuously defended President Trump and the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, will replace Grassley as chairman of Judiciary.

In 2013, Graham, R-S.C., was a member of the Gang of Eight that negotiated a bipartisan immigration reform bill that included a compromise to guarantee farms an expanded foreign workforce. The bill passed the Senate easily but later died in the House. 

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