Key Committee Leadership Changes for 118th Congresseditor@aashto.org January 13, 2023 0 COMMENTS
With control of the House of Representatives shifting to the Republican Party following the results of the November 2022 elections, the leadership of committees that impact the transportation industry is changing.
[Above photo by AASHTO]
Though Democrats still control the Senate, changes are being made by both parties to the leadership structure of several key transportation committees there as well.
Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO) has been selected to serve as chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. He served as the committee’s ranking Republican for the last four years.
“One of my highest priorities is a bipartisan, long-term reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration and aviation programs,” he said in a statement.
“Aviation is a major sector of our economy, and we must ensure our Nation remains the world’s gold standard in safety and at the forefront of incorporating new technologies into the system,” Rep. Graves added. “I am also looking forward to working across the aisle to develop other key authorizations for our transportation and infrastructure systems, including a pipeline safety bill, a Coast Guard bill, and the next Water Resources Development Act.”
Rep. Graves also led a roundtable between Republican members of the house T&I committee and key transportation industry stakeholders in July 2022 to discuss the impact of inflation on the nation’s infrastructure – especially in terms of getting new infrastructure projects off the ground.
He is also focused on some of the long-term funding issues involved with the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act or IIJA enacted in November 2021 – an issue he addressed at the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials “Washington Briefing” in March 2022.
“The biggest criticism is that IIJA not paid for, and that could be a huge problem,” he said. “We still have a lot of work to do in terms of funding the IIJA. Also, Congress’ biggest job over next two to four years is oversight of how that money will eventually be spent.”
Meanwhile, Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO) will serve as the chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means.
In a statement, he said Ways and Means under his leadership would examine using both trade policy and the nation’s tax code to re-shore and strengthen the country’s supply chains, where products and services vital to national security are made here at home using American labor.
“We must also look at ways to encourage domestic energy production and achieve energy independence through the tax code,” he added.
Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX) will serve as chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, which she’s served on for most of 20 years she’s spent as a member of Congress.
“As the committee responsible for federal funding, it’s our responsibility to reduce spending where we can and ensure that we prioritize resources on national security,” she noted in a statement.
In the Senate, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) becomes the ranking member on the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee – replacing Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) who is moving over to the Committee on Armed Services.
For the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee – which has jurisdiction over transit in the Senate – Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) becomes the ranking member, replacing Sen. Patrick Toomey (R-PA) who is retiring.
For the Committee on Appropriations, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) becomes the chair, replacing Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) who is retiring. Concurrently, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) becomes ranking member as Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) is retiring.