Senate leaders announced Sen. Tim Johnson as the Senate Banking Committee chairman Thursday, as well as releasing the rest of their committee assignments.
The South Dakota Democrat issued a press release saying his goals as chairman are to restore the economy, oversee Dodd-Frank implementation and begin to craft a housing finance reform policy that guarantees mortgages are affordable.
"I am committed to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, the White House, regulators, consumer groups, industry and international regulators on oversight of reform," he said in the release. "The administration's recommendations on housing finance reform are expected to be released in the near future, and that will generate discussion and help move the debate along. I look forward to an open dialogue to build consensus around a viable path forward. I do not want to further destabilize housing markets or make homeownership unaffordable for the majority of Americans."
Last Congress when Democrats had a larger majority, the panel was divided among 13 Democrats and 10 Republicans. But with the Senate now split 53 to 47 overall, Democrats gave up one seat on the committee, leaving it with a 12-to-10 partisan ratio.
Republicans have four new members: Sens. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Mark Kirk of Illinois, Jerry Moran of Kansas and Roger Wicker of Mississippi.
On the Democratic side, Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina has joined the panel.
The returning Democrats, in addition to Johnson, are Sens. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, Charles Schumer of New York, Robert Menendez of New Jersey, Daniel Akaka of Hawaii, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Jon Tester of Montana, Herb Kohl of Wisconsin, Mark Warner of Virginia, Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Michael Bennet of Colorado.
The ranking member remains Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., as expected.
The returning Republicans are Sens. Mike Crapo of Idaho, Bob Corker of Tennessee, Jim DeMint of South Carolina, David Vitter of Louisiana and Mike Johanns of Nebraska.
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, has left the committee.
Other vacancies were created by the departures of members who retired or were not reelected: Republican Sens. Robert Bennett of Utah, Jim Bunning of Kentucky and Judd Gregg of New Hampshire and two Democrats, former chairman Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut and Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana.
The committee's membership must still be ratified by the full Senate, but this is considered a formality.
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