Transportation Committee Shrinks, EPW Announces New Members
The committees with jurisdiction over transportation are shrinking. In the Senate, committee membership is only going from 21 to 20. But the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is experiencing a much more significant belt-tightening, shrinking from a committee of 75 to just 59. Of those 59, 33 are Republicans and 26 are Democrats.
Congressional staff confirms that while not all committees were downsized in the transition to Republican rule, most were. And T&I was an easy target, being the biggest committee in the House (a position it retains, even at a slim 59 members).
Republicans say they trimmed committee size in the interest of creating a smaller and more accountable government. House Speaker John Boehner cut committee budgets by five percent.
Meanwhile, as promised, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has announced its new roster for the 112th Congress:
Democrats: Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Max Baucus (D-MT), Thomas Carper (D-DE), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), Bernard Sanders (I-VT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Tom Udall (D-NM), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Republicans: Ranking Member James Inhofe (R-OK), David Vitter (R-LA), John Barrasso (R-WY), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Mike Johanns (R-NE), John Boozman (R-AR)
The Democratic side is the same as the last session except that Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) has dropped off and hasn’t been replaced. Also, Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter, who started last session as a Republican and then switched to the Democratic party, was defeated in the November election. Meanwhile, on the Republican side, Sessions, Johanns, and Boozman are new members. All of that leaves the committee with a ten to eight balance of Democrats to Republicans. Last session, with a bigger majority, the balance was twelve to seven after Specter switched parties.