Bernie Sanders has a new role. This may be his last assignment in Washington.

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Joel White, a Republican strategist who specializes in health policy, said Mr. Sanders may be more bipartisan than some of his critics expect, “I think Bernie probably wouldn’t have become chairman of the health committee just to throw bombs. “

The two Republicans on the panel, Mr. Braun and Senator Roger Marshall of Kansas, both said in interviews that they thought they could find common ground with Mr. Sanders on such matters as lowering the cost of prescription drugs and supporting community health centers. .

And Mr. Daschle said Mr. Sanders had a counterpart he could probably work with: Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, the top Republican on the committee. A physician who helped found a community health clinic to treat the uninsured, Cassidy was one of seven Republicans who supported former President Donald J. Voted to convict Trump.

As chairman of the committee, Mr. Sanders said he intended to “take the show on the road” by holding hearings in places other than Washington so he could hear from ordinary Americans, such as older people who need prescription drugs. families struggling to pay for child care and students unable to pay for college.

Senator Patrick J. With the recent retirement of Leahy, a Democrat who served for 48 years, Sanders is finally Vermont’s senior senator. Asked how he felt, he said, “Very good.” Then, ever belligerent, he shot back, “How are you feeling?”

He said those who wonder whether he will run again — and by people he meant reporters — should “keep thinking.”

Why? “Because I just told you, and it’s very serious,” he said wearing his trademark scowl. “If you think about my record, I take this job very seriously. The purpose of elections is to get people to work, not to talk about elections.

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