Sen. Maria Cantwell will be the chairwoman of the Indian Affairs Committee in the new Congress.
Democrats announced their expected committee assignments for next year, which are essentially done deals for everything but a pro forma vote at the beginning of the session. Cantwell has been a member of Indian Affairs since coming to the Senate in 2001, and will be taking over that panel, as well as remaining on Commerce, Science and Transportation; Energy and Natural Resources; Finance; and Small Business and Entrepreneurship.
She will be the first woman to lead the Indian Affairs Committee. Washington has more than three dozen tribes within its borders, although not all are federally recognized.