What We Do and Don’t Know about Next Year’s Senate Transportation Committee

Senate side of Capitol. Image – TID.

Here’s what we already know, and what we’re waiting to learn, about next year’s Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, the Senate’s primary transportation panel.

What we know:

1.  All current members will return to the Senate, as none were defeated and none retired.

2. Senator Boxer will return as chair.

3. Senator Inhofe will not return as ranking Republican, due to Senate Republican rules. Senator Vitter has announced he is campaigning for the position, and is very likely to win the position. Philosophically Vitter is cut from the same cloth as Inhofe.  Senator Boxer worked hard at collaborating with Inhofe and is likely to do the same with Vitter. Update: Inhofe is expected to remain on the Committee.

4. The Committee will tackle the reauthorization of the Water Resources Development Act.

What we’re waiting to learn:

1. Who will serve on the Committee? We’ll find out later this year if any Senators transfer off the committee. They may be enticed to leave for the more influential Finance Committee (each party has two openings) or Appropriations (which has two Democratic openings and one Republican opening).

2. How many will serve on the Committee?  The overall ratio of Democrats and Republicans in the Senate changed very slightly. We’ll find out later this year if the +2 advantage of Democratic members on the Committee will increase.

3. What issues will the Committee tackle besides MAP-21 reauthorization and WRDA?

Here is the current lineup of the Committee:

Democratic Republican
  Boxer   Inhofe
  Baucus   Vitter
  Carper   Barrasso
  Lautenberg   Sessions
  Cardin   Crapo
  Sanders   Alexander
  Whitehouse   Johanns
  Udall   Boozman
  Merkley
  Gilibrand