The recent elections returned Republicans to control of the Senate, which means all the committees within the chamber will see their leadership change. This really shouldn't be a scientific issue. And yet, in the current environment, where science is often a political football, it really will be one.
To understand why, you just have to look at what's happened with the House Science Committee, where Republicans have been in power for several years and have put someone on the committee who has called evolution a satanic lie. This has led to some fabulously embarrassing moments (captured nicely by Jon Stewart and also visible in the video below), as people who would flunk second grade geography pepper PhDs with what they seem to think will be "gotcha" questions.