(AP Photo) J. Scott Applewhite

When the 112th Congress convenes in January, a familiar title won't be next to U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley's name.

Grassley, who just won a sixth term, will surrender his ranking member status on the Senate Finance Committee.

Instead, he is expected to become the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The change, which still must be ratified by the Republican caucus, will be new for those who have grown accustomed to the 78-year-old senator using his perch on the Finance Committee to launch myriad investigations and weigh in on such prominent legislative battles as health-care reform and tax policy.

Even with the change, however, Grassley said in an interview Wednesday he foresees little change in how he does oversight work, particularly when it comes to the health-care industry.

"I would hope to be doing roughly the same things on health care in the Judiciary Committee as I did in the Finance Committee," he said.

Grassley has been a tenacious investigator of the Food and Drug Administration and the pharmaceutical industry. He also said he would remain active overseeing nonprofits.

Grassley said fraud-related issues are squarely within the Judiciary Committee's jurisdiction.

Also, the New Hartford Republican has a history of casting a wide net in his oversight activities.

In the 1980s, Grassley targeted waste in the Pentagon budget while he sat on a subcommittee of Judiciary, not a Defense-related panel.

The senator also is in the midst of forming an oversight unit on the Judiciary Committee, said Jill Kozeny, a spokeswoman.

Grassley is being forced out of his job as the top Republican on the Finance Committee because of a GOP rule that limits chairmen and ranking members to six years in each role.

Grassley said he would rather stay on the Finance Committee and the rule "weakens" Republicans in the Senate.

However, he said he's looking forward to his new role on the Judiciary Committee, "trying to being some common sense to a very sophisticated profession."

Grassley has been a member of that panel for years.

He added, too, that should Republicans gain control of the Senate in 2012, he's likely to stay put.

Grassley made an agreement last year with Sen. Jeff Sessions to move to the Judiciary panel, while the Alabama Republican will become the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee.

If Republicans were to gain control in two years, they both would become chairmen, Grassley said.

"The smoothest thing to do is me just to assume the chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee," he added.