DeFazio, Graves return as House T&I Committee leaders

December 7, 2020

Mark Schremmer


The leadership of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure will remain the same for the 117th Congress.

Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., was selected to return as chairperson, and Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo., was picked to return as the committee’s ranking member.

“As chair of the T&I Committee in the 117th Congress, I will continue to be a tireless advocate for commonsense policies that help ensure America’s infrastructure and transportation systems work for all communities, urban and rural alike,” DeFazio said in a news release. “I am once again humbled by the support of my colleagues to continue leading our caucus on the T&I Committee, and I know that together we can lay the groundwork for infrastructure investment that delivers for generations to come.”

The 116th Congress was unable to pass a highway bill.

On June 3, DeFazio released the text of a highway bill that would authorize nearly $500 billion over five years to tackle the nation’s infrastructure needs. OOIDA supported the original measure, which included increased funding for highway construction; $250 million for truck parking projects; provisions to limit excessive detention time and predatory lease-to-own schemes; and further analysis on H-1B visa use within the trucking industry.

However, OOIDA withdrew its support for the bill when on June 17 an amendment requiring the minimum insurance for motor carriers to increase from $750,000 to $2 million was added.

House Democrats later merged the bill into a $1.5 trillion infrastructure package. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell labeled the partisan bill dead on arrival.

With no highway bill in place, Congress kicked the can down the road by extending the FAST Act for a year.

“Next Congress, we need to find consensus-driven, realistic solutions for an overdue long-term reauthorization of programs to fix our roads, bridges, and other surface transportation infrastructure,” Graves said in a news release. “We all expect infrastructure to be a major issue again next year, but if many of the same failed partisan policies of the recent past are simply dusted off and rammed through the House again, they won’t be any more successful in the 117th Congress than they were in the 116th.”

Earlier this year, Graves appeared on “Live From Exit 24” to discuss trucking’s top issues.