The announcement comes after the 2018 midterm elections, in which Democrats won 40 seats in the House of Representatives but ended up with net losses in the Senate.
As a result of the latter, Harris—a potential 2020 presidential candidate who has become a progressive hero from her position on the committee—was at risk of losing the post due to sheer numbers and the seniority of the other members. Harris and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) are the only two African-American members on the committee.
In order to keep Harris in her post, according to a source familiar with the proceedings, Schumer has allowed for a deal that would not remove any Democrats from the committee but would allow for an expansion granting the Republicans a new seat. Schumer made it a top priority, the source said, to keep Harris aboard the committee.
Another source told The Daily Beast that Harris had personally spoken with Schumer about her desire to keep the position. Furthermore, progressive and civil-rights organizations pressured Schumer to ensure that Harris would keep the job.
“I’m honored to continue to represent the people of California on the Senate Judiciary Committee & look forward to the critical work ahead,” Harris tweeted after the news broke on Tuesday.