On Jan. 2, 2018, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) announced he would retire at the end of the year. Sen. Hatch is the GOP’s longest-serving Senator, first elected in 1976 and appointed to the Finance Committee in 1991. As Finance Chairman, Hatch played a large role in ushering in the recently passed sweeping tax legislation. Hatch’s Committee also has jurisdiction over health care policy, including the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
His departure will leave openings in important and symbolic roles. If Republicans hold their majority in this year’s elections, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) would likely reclaim his seniority on the Finance Committee and give up the gavel at the Judiciary Committee. Hatch will also give up the title of President Pro Tempore, the constitutional leader of the Senate who is in the presidential line of succession behind the Vice President and House speaker. If Republicans hold the majority, Sens. Thad Cochran (R-MS) and then Grassley are next in line to claim that largely honorary role.
Impact on General Dentistry: The AGD will keep a close eye on Hatch’s replacement as Chair of the Finance Committee and report on any announcements made later this year.