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December 7, 2020 1:45 PM, EST

Rep. Rosa DeLauro to Lead Funding Committee in 117th Congress

Rosa DeLauroRep. Rosa DeLauro during a coronavirus hearing in June. (Al Drago/Bloomberg)

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The powerful Appropriations Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives will be led during the next session of Congress by Connecticut Democrat Rosa DeLauro, her caucus announced this month.

DeLauro will succeed Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), who is serving in her final year in Congress.

In her role as chairwoman, DeLauro would oversee the funding accounts for federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Transportation. She will be tasked with managing a legislative schedule for considering the dozen fiscal appropriations measures ahead of funding deadlines.

The two-year 117th session of Congress is scheduled to begin in January.

“It is a unique time. We are in the middle of a health and economic crisis that must be addressed, communities of color face systemic racism, and we welcome a president with a mandate for change, yet we may still face gridlock,” DeLauro said Dec. 3.

“Each member of Congress represents vastly different districts which each face unique challenges, we are united by our desire to stop the spread of this pandemic, create economic recovery, deliver results for the hardworking families struggling across the country, and address the systemic racial inequities to make America more just and equal,” added DeLauro, currently the chairwoman of the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee.

Next year, the new chairwoman will be expected to play a significant role in the next round of pandemic relief aid. President-elect Joe Biden, a Democrat, has pointed to the need for additional robust emergency funding to assist sectors afflicted by the coronavirus.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has emphasized her caucus would collaborate with the new administration to produce a package early next year. The speaker also praised the next Appropriations chairwoman.

“It was pretty exciting for us,” said Pelosi on Dec. 4. “We had three contested races, and that included Rep. Rosa DeLauro, now chair of the Appropriations Committee, following in the footsteps of the first woman to serve in that capacity, Nita Lowey paving the way.”

Under the Democrats’ control, the Appropriations Committee has proposed ensuring funding for federal infrastructure grants, the development of autonomous vehicles technology, and climate change-centric infrastructure projects. For trucking regulators, the funding panels have prioritized safety grants and vehicle inspection programs.

In July, the panel advanced a fiscal 2021 measure that would provide the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration $881 million. Senate funding policymakers unveiled their legislative version this month.

Transportation panel Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.)

DeFazio

Pertaining to policy affairs separate from funding allocations, the Democrats also selected Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) to lead the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee during the 117th Congress. DeFazio serves the panel as chairman and his tenure included approval of a multiyear highway policy bill, investigations into President Donald Trump’s holdings, and examinations of the country’s safety mechanisms for aviation, rail, highways, transit, pipelines and waterways.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic has made clear, our efforts in the committee must be matched by our strong support for the transportation workers who have kept our country moving amid the pandemic — from transporting medical supplies and groceries, to getting essential workers to their place of work,” said DeFazio on Dec. 3. “I will continue to be a tireless advocate for common-sense policies that help ensure America’s infrastructure and transportation systems work for all communities, urban and rural alike. I also look forward to working with the incoming Biden administration — and my Democratic and Republican colleagues — to bring America’s infrastructure out of the 1950s and into the modern era.”

House Republicans tapped Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) to continue serving as ranking member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

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