DeFazio Confirmed As Transportation Chair
Rep. Pete DeFazio, D-Ore., is the new chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and he’s made it clear his emphasis will be on the latter rather than the former. DeFazio says he intends to have a comprehensive infrastructure bill before Congress in six months and that likely means aviation issues will be out of the spotlight at least for the meantime. With the passage of a five-year FAA reauthorization before the end of the last session, many of the pressing issues facing aviation were addressed, including the end (for now, at least) of a push to privatize air traffic control. For good measure, DeFazio was an outspoken opponent of that idea, which was promoted by former Chairman Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Penn.
Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo., will lead Republicans on the committee as the ranking member. Graves has been a long-time general aviation advocate and his elevation to the leadership role was welcomed by GA groups. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash., the former ranking member of the Aviation Subcommittee, has been named the new chairman. The committee looks after all aspects of civil aviation including oversight of the National Transportation Safety Board.