ACEC National Update On Washington State Representation in Congress:
Overview by Van Collins, President
Washington State Representatives gained leadership positions in this Congress; of the five listed committees, Washington Representatives have secured the Chair position on one and Ranking Member on two others. This is truly significant for a state that only has ten congressional districts.
In addition, it must be further noted that Senator Patty Murray has become one of the most senior Democratic leaders in the Senate with her appointment as President Pro Tempore.
There is no doubt that our ACEC Washington membership will be expected to help advocate the importance and relevancy of ACEC positions to these leaders as well as the rest of the Washington Congressional Delegation. This new leadership paradigm for Washington State will also hopefully manifest the true importance of the ACEC Political Action Committee and help motivate our ACEC Washington members to fully support its important work through generous donations.
From ACEC National as of Jan 12, 2023
ACEC Colleagues –
Following the historic week-long election for Speaker of the House, Republicans are now finalizing their committee leaders and Member appointments for the 118th Congress. We have strong relationships with these senior lawmakers and their staffs and are well-poised through our legislative and political programs to advance our priorities in the coming two years.
Across the Capitol, the U.S. Senate is in recess until January 23. Senate leaders are still negotiating committee ratios and other organizational matters, and we will profile new and returning committee heads when those positions are finalized.
Here is a quick snapshot of the Chairs and Ranking Members of key House committees. We’ve also attached congressional leadership profiles from National Journal.
House Ways and Means Committee
Chairman Jason Smith (R-MO) is a close ally of Speaker McCarthy and most recently served as Ranking Member of the House Budget Committee. He has been the lead sponsor of ACEC-backed legislation to make the Section 199A passthrough tax deduction permanent. Chairman Smith visited the ACEC townhouse for an event in July 2022.
ACEC also has a long relationship with Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-MA), who served as Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee from 2019 through 2022. Congressman Neal is an advocate for infrastructure and strongly supported IIJA when it was passed by the House.
House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee
Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO) is a seasoned legislator and long-time member of the T&I Committee, serving as Ranking Member for the last four years and previously chairing the Small Business Committee. Graves is a private pilot whose top priorities will be reauthorization of Federal Aviation Administration programs – including airport infrastructure – and oversight of the Administration’s implementation of the IIJA. ACEC has a longstanding relationship with Chairman Graves and his committee staff. We hosted a dinner for Congressman Graves with the ACEC Missouri delegation at the townhouse in June 2021, as well as many other fundraisers for him over the years.
Representative Rick Larsen (D-WA) takes over as the top Democrat following the retirement of former chair Peter DeFazio. He is pragmatic and policy oriented and is expected to work collaboratively with Chair Graves, noting his “good faith bipartisanship” and hopes for “a fruitful partnership” in his congratulatory statement on Graves’ appointment. ACEC has supported Larsen politically for many re-election cycles, and he hosted a PAC fundraising reception at the townhouse for other Democratic T&I members in June 2022.
House Energy and Commerce Committee
Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) has long been the ranking member and now leads this powerful committee with jurisdiction over many areas of ACEC interest. These areas include energy RDD&D programs with roles for IIJA and IRA implementation; energy market regulation by FERC, environmental remediation programs such as Superfund and Brownfields; air and water regulatory programs under the Clean Water, Clean Air and Safe Drinking Water Acts; and emerging contaminant programs e.g., PFAS. Her committee has environmental review and permitting reform as a high priority. We hosted a PAC event for her at the townhouse in 2021.
Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) chaired the committee in the last Congress and will continue as the top Democrat this term. He led the development of major components of the IIJA and IRA and will continue to advocate progressive environmental and energy policies.
ACEC has good bipartisan relationships with Chairwoman McMorris Rogers and Ranking Member Pallone and their staffs. We have also worked closely with key Members of the committee including Congressman Marc Veasey (D-TX), and Congressman Richard Hudson (R-NC).
House Natural Resources Committee
Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-AR) of House Natural Resources is well known to ACEC as one of the few members of Congress with an engineering background. He has made frequent appearances at ACEC conferences and other programs. A registered P.E., he frequently mentions his interest in bringing that experience to Congress and ACEC looks for him to be a leader on environmental review and permitting modernization. He is collaborating with Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers of House Energy and Commerce to pursue that modernization with respect to critical mineral mining on federal lands. The potential for IIJA/IRA to deliver essential energy and water infrastructure and critical mineral development must be supported by modernization of current environmental review and permitting law. Chairman Westerman is a key ally of Speaker McCarthy and was a guest at the ACEC townhouse last December.
Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) will continue to lead the Democrats on this committee and is a strong proponent of policies related to environmental justice. ACEC has a relationship with Congressman Grijalva and his staff.
House Armed Services Committee
The leadership atop the House Armed Services Committee remains unchanged, aside from the parties changing hands. Leading the Committee will be Mike Rogers (R-AL), who was the top Republican on the committee since 2020. He previously held the same role serving as Ranking Member on the Homeland Security Committee. In office since 2002, Rogers has represented the Anniston Army Depot and Fort Benning, he has been an active member of the Military Readiness Subcommittee, which oversees military construction and a past Chair of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee, overseeing our nation’s nuclear weapons program.
Leading the Committee Democratics will be its former Chair, Adam Smith (D-WA). Smith has led the committee since 2019 and previously served as Chair of the Subcommittee on Air and Land Forces, which had jurisdiction over Army and Air Force acquisition programs, as well as previously chairing the Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities subcommittee. Smith has also been a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, providing him the perspective into global development trends, which include infrastructure and trade.
ACEC has successfully engaged with both leaders. This committee produces the annual National Defense Authorization Act which guides military programs and federal procurement rules.
Please let us know if you have any questions, and stay tuned for additional information on congressional committee appointments as they are finalized.
The ACEC Advocacy Team