Shuster takes House transportation helm, Senate committees set

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | 1/4/2013

House and Senate committees are taking shape, and that means lawmakers will soon begin work on a wide range of transportation issues.

U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-PA, the new chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for the 113th Congress, announced the list of 33 Republican committee members on Thursday while ranking member Nick Rahall, D-WV, revealed the list of 27 Democrats who will serve.

Subcommittee appointments will come at a later date, according to the T&I Committee website.

As they did in the 112th Congress, the Republicans have control in the House of Representatives while Democrats control the Senate.

Some Senate committees with stakes in transportation are undergoing changes, mainly due to a shift by the Republicans, including some high-ranking lawmakers.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-WV, stays on as chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, but the position of ranking Republican has changed.

Republicans elected Sen. John Thune of South Dakota on Thursday to be the next ranking member.

That position was open because of the sudden retirement of Sen. Jim DeMint, R-SC, back in December 2012. DeMint was in line to become ranking member following the retirements of Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-TX, who was ranking member, and Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-ME, but he left to become president of the conservative Heritage Foundation.

On the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, there will be a new ranking Republican member sitting next to Chairman Barbara Boxer, D-CA, when transportation work resumes. Republicans elected Sen. David Vitter, R-LA, to the position after Sen. James Inhofe, R-OK, faced a term limit as ranking member.

It was Boxer, Inhofe, Vitter and Sen. Max Baucus, D-MT, who were the “big four” senators who drafted the two-year highway bill known as MAP-21 and got it through the Senate on its way to becoming law last summer.

See related story:
Senate landscape shift affects transportation

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