Changes in store for Indian Affairs Committee
Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota) remains chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee but there are some changes in store for the 111th Congress.

On the Democratic side, Sen. Tom Udall (D-New Mexico) joins the committee as a new member. During his time in the House, he served on the House Natural Resources Committee, which has jurisdiction over Indian issues.

For the Republicans, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) will no longer serve as vice chairman due to another leadership role she is accepting. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma) is also passing on the job for other leadership positions.

That leaves the vice chair spot open to Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyoming). He has supported the two tribes in his state since joining the committee in June 2007.

While the Democrats have added at least one member on the committee, Republicans are losing one. Former Sen. Pete Domenici (R-New Mexico) retired at the end of the 110th Congress.

The committee held its first hearing of the 111th Congress on January 15 to focus on tribal economic development.

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