Democrats take control of House T&I Committee; Senate EPW changes little

By Jami Jones, Land Line managing editor | Thursday, November 08, 2018

The midterm elections at the federal level went about like many political experts anticipated, the Republicans retained control and grew their presence in the Senate, and the Democrats took control of the House of Representatives.

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee oversees the Department of Transportation and, in doing so, trucking via oversight of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The changing of the guard with the midterms will mean changes in that powerful committee.

First and foremost, with the Democrats in control, a new chairman will be appointed. All predictions are that will be Peter DeFazio. The Democrat from Oregon is a long-time member of the committee and until the new term starts in 2019 serves as the ranking member of the committee.

“This is a good one for truckers,” said Collin Long, OOIDA’s director of government affairs. “He’s interested in pursuing some issues that benefit the professional driver that haven’t really been addressed under Republican control. So we’re optimistic.”

On the Republican side of the committee, there may be a challenge on for the position of ranking member. Ahead of the 2018 election cycle, current chairman Bill Shuster announced he was retiring and would not seek re-election.

Long says the picture isn’t entirely clear as to who will be appointed to the role of ranking member by the Republican leadership. Heading into the election, it was setting up to be a contest between Sam Graves from Missouri and Jeff Denham out of California. However, the picture is further muddied by the fact that Denham’s race in California remains too close to call. According to The Associated Press, Denham holds a narrow 1,287-vote lead at the closing of the polls.

Even if Denham is declared the winner, with all of the shakeups in the House midterm elections, the picture remains unclear.

“We’ll have to see what happens with that,” Long said. “A lot of that will actually be determined by who ultimately controls the House Republican minority. Because, I think, Mr. Denham was probably banking on the current majority leader in the House, Kevin McCarthy, maintaining that role. But with such great losses (in the midterms), we’ll see if that changes. If so, that will affect Denham’s opportunity to take over as ranking member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.”

On the Senate side, with Republicans retaining control, few changes in the makeup or political agenda of the members on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee are expected.

Changes in control over either chamber in Congress underscore the importance of OOIDA’s nonpartisan advocacy efforts.

“You have to work both sides of the Capitol. And when I say that, I mean the House and the Senate, both sides of the aisle, Republican and Democrat. There are different committees of jurisdiction that we work with all the time. Our team in D.C. is constantly on the Hill or in DOT offices meeting with people pushing our issues,” OOIDA Manager of Government Affairs Mike Matousek said ahead of the midterms. “We work with people on both sides of the aisle that have a track record of supporting small-business truckers. There are great members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. Some are better on issues than others,” he said. “There are some issues that Republicans are good on and some issues that Democrats are good on.”

That doesn’t mean that with the changing of the guard that it will be smooth sailing for issues near and dear to the hearts of truckers or particularly worse. It will simply be different issues that tend to rise to the top.

“Like I always say every member of Congress and every chairman offers opportunities but also challenges. So we have to keep an eye out for some potential technology mandates including possibly speed limiters – we’ve done a really good job pouring a lot of cold water on them in the last couple of years – and underride guards, which have been on the back burner could start percolating again. Mr. DeFazio has talked about insurance minimums, so we’re certainly going to have to keep a close eye on that to make sure that any legislation raising insurance minimums on truckers does not move forward.

“We’ll also see what happens with hours of service. Thankfully, the FMCSA seems to be moving in the right direction on that. But there’s certainly an opportunity for the House T and I Committee to exert some oversight in the process. Overall, I think things are moving positively on that and will continue to do so.”

These are election results of the House T and I Committee members, listed alphabetically by state.

Current term House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee

House committee memberElection result
Chairman Bill Shuster, R-Pa. Retired
Ranking Member Peter DeFazio,
  D-Ore.
Won
Don Young, R-Alaska Won
Rick Crawford, R-Ark. Won
Bruce Westerman, R-Ark. Won
Julia Brownley, D-Calif. Won
Jeff Denham, R-Calif. Pending
Mark DeSaulnier, D-Calif. Won
John Garamendi, D-Calif. Won
Jared Huffman, D-Calif. Won
Doug LaMalfa, R-Calif. Won
Alan S. Lowenthal, D-Calif. Won
Grace F. Napolitano, D-Calif. Won
Elizabeth H. Esty, D-Conn. Retired
Eleanor Holmes Norton,
  Del-D.C.
Won
Lois Frankel, D-Fla. Won
Brian J. Mast, R-Fla. Won
Daniel Webster, R-Fla. Won
Frederica S. Wilson, D-Fla. Won
A. Drew Ferguson, R-Ga. Won
Henry C. “Hank” Johnson Jr.,
  D-Ga.
Won
Rob Woodall, R-Ga. Won
Mike Bost, R-Ill. Won
Cheri Bustos, D-Ill. Won
Rodney Davis, R-Ill. Won
Daniel Lipinski, D-Ill. Won
Andre Carson, D-Ind. Won
Todd Rokita, R-Ind. Lost (P)
Thomas Massie, R-Ky. Won
Garret Graves, R-La. Won
Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md. Won
Michael E. Capuano, D-Mass. Lost (P)
Brenda L. Lawrence, D-Mich. Won
Paul Mitchell, R-Mich. Won
Jason Lewis, R-Minn. Lost
Richard M. Nolan, D-Minn. Retired
Sam Graves, R-Mo. Won
Dina Titus, D-Nev. Won
Frank A. LoBiondo, R-N.J. Retired
Donald M. Payne Jr., D-N.J. Won
Albio Sires, D-N.J. Won
John Faso, R-N.Y. Lost
John Katko, R-N.Y. Won
Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y. Won
Mark Meadows, R-N.C. Won
David Rouzer, R-N.C. Won
Bob Gibbs, R-Ohio Won
Lou Barletta, R-Pa. Lost (S)
Scott Perry, R-Pa. Won
Llloyd Smucker, R-Pa. Won
Mark Sanford, R-S.C. Lost (P)
Steve Cohen, D-Tenn. Won
John J. Duncan Jr., R-Tenn. Retired
Brian Babin, R-Texas Won
Eddie Bernice Johnson,
  D-Texas
Won
Randy Weber, R-Texas Won
Barbara Comstock, R-Va. Lost
Stacey E. Plaskett,
  Del-Virgin Islands
Won
Rick Larsen, D-Wash. Won
Mike Gallagher, R-Wis. Won
   


Lost(S) – Lost in a Senate race
Lost(P) – Lost in the primary

 

 

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