House Transpo Conferees Set, First Committee Meeting Scheduled for May 8

Last night, the names of the House delegates to the transportation bill conference committee were released. The 33 members — 20 Republicans, 13 Democrats — will join the 14 Senators already named to the panel, and will be tasked with hammering out a compromise before transportation policy expires on June 30.

Here is the list of House conferees, with some information concerning committee and subcommittee leadership positions:

Democrats Republicans
Nick Rahall (WV) Ranking, T&I John Mica (FL) Chair, T&I
Peter DeFazio (OR) Ranking, Hwys. sbcmte. John Duncan (TN) Chair, Hwys. sbcmte.
Jerry Costello (IL) Ranking, Aviation sbcmte. Chip Cravaack (MN) Vice chair, Aviation sbcmte.
Corrine Brown (FL) Ranking, RRs sbcmte. Bill Shuster (PA) Chair, RRs sbcmte.
Tim Bishop (NY) Ranking, Water sbcmte. Jaime Herrera Buetler (WA) Vice chair, Water sbcmte. 
Henry Waxman (CA) Ranking, Energy *Fred Upton (MI) Chair, Energy
*Ed Markey (MA) Ranking, Resources *Doc Hastings (WA) Chair, Resources
Elijah Cummings (MD) Ranking, Oversight *Dave Camp (MI) Chair, Ways & Means
Leonard Boswell (IA) Don Young (AK) Former chair, T&I
Jerrold Nadler (NY) Richard Hanna (NY) Vice chair, Hwys. sbcmte.
Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX) James Lankford (OK)
*Earl Blumenauer (OR) *Reid Ribble (WI)
Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC) Shelley Moore Capito (WV)
*Ed Whitfield (KY)
Larry Buschon (IN)
*Rob Bishop (UT)
*Ralph Hall (TX)
Rick Crawford (AR)
* Does not sit on T&I Committee Steve Southerland (FL)
or any of its subcommittees. *Patrick Tiberi (OH)

One environmental advocate was encouraged by the list of Democratic conferees, which includes noted transit defenders Nadler and Holmes Norton, as well as bicycle heroes DeFazio and Blumenauer.

House Republicans, meanwhile, will continue in their attempt to force an expedited approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline and weaken the environmental review process for highway construction.

Some more fun facts about the conferees:

  • Steve Southerland is a co-author of the RESTORE Act, which as we mentioned yesterday will be a big chit in the negotiations next month.
  • Ralph Hall has the distinction of being the only Democrat who voted against the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982 still to be serving in the House (he changed party affiliations in 2004). That law raised the gas tax and for the first time directed a share of revenues to fund transit.
  • Conferee Reid Ribble authored the amendment to the House’s shell bill containing “streamlining” measures recycled from H.R. 7 that would gut the environmental review process for many road projects. (While 18 Democrats voted for Ribble’s amendment, not one is a conferee.)
  • Absent from the list of Republican conferees is Steve LaTourette, the Ohio moderate (by current standards) who attracted some attention by taking a stand against H.R. 7′s attack on transit funding.
  • Shelley Moore Capito supports devolving to states the power to regulate coal ash, while her fellow West Virginian Nick Rahall proposed the first set of federal standards on coal ash ponds three years ago.

The full panel’s first meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, May 8 in the Hart Senate Office Building. Members will have an opportunity to make opening statements at this meeting. Individual members are sure to conduct meetings with their staffs in the meantime, in order to familiarize themselves with the other chamber’s bill (the Senate bill weighs in at over 1600 pages).