The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee – which has jurisdiction over infrastructure spending and environmental regulations – will have a new chairman and ranking democrat in the new Congress. The committee will be led by the new Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), and ranking Democrat Tom Carper (D-Del.)
Ashley Amidon, director of government affairs for the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association (NSSGA), said, “Senate EPW will certainly play an integral role in discussions of President-elect Trump’s proposed $1 trillion infrastructure investment plan, as well as on key regulatory issues such as the onerous Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule. NSSGA is well-positioned with both senators to have a significant impact on the policies coming out of the committee.”
Sen. Barrasso is a champion for overturning the Waters of the United States rule, which causes a permitting nightmare for aggregates producers. He is a tireless advocate against the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers. Sen. Carper is very active on surface transportation issues and is a proponent of increasing revenues into the Highway Trust Fund.
The Senate’s top leadership will be key to passing infrastructure packages and stopping burdensome regulations. Senate Republicans have lost one seat so they will need to work closely with Democrats to reach a 60 vote threshold required for most Senate measures.
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), will continue as Majority Leader and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), will take the helm of the Democratic conference as Minority Leader. Another change that affects the aggregates industry is Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), replacing retiring Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) as Ranking Member of Appropriations, a committee which affects not only transportation, but funding for implementing regulations. Republicans have not announced changes to chairmanships that are in play next Congress; NSSGA will provide updates as the rest of appointments are made.