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Senate Names Highway Bill Conferees

Prior to recessing for Veterans Day, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives appointed conferees from each chamber who will conference on the Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy (DRIVE) Act. The conference committee will reconcile funding and policy differences and merge the House and Senate bills into one that both chambers can pass, according to the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association (NSSGA).

“Appointing conferees for the bill brings us that much closer to final action on this critical legislation,” said Pam Whitted, NSSGA senior vice president of legislative and regulatory affairs. “NSSGA looks forward to working with these members of Congress to achieve our industry’s primary goals for reauthorization – increased investment in our country’s infrastructure and the certainty of a six-year bill.”

Republican senators named to the committee include Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, Utah, Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe, Okla., Energy Committee Chairman Lisa Murkowski, Alaska, Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune, S.D., EPW Committee member John Barrasso, Wyo., Commerce Committee member Deb Fischer, Neb., and Finance Committee and leadership member John Cornyn, Texas.

Democrat senators include EPW Committee ranking member Barbara Boxer, Calif., Banking Committee ranking member Sherrod Brown, Ohio, Commerce Committee ranking member Bill Nelson, Fla., Finance Committee ranking member Ron Wyden, Ore, Finance and Banking Committees member Charles Schumer, N.Y., and Appropriations Committee and leadership member Dick Durbin, Ill.

Surprisingly, two senators – Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.) – were not named as conferees. Shelby reportedly opposed pay-fors related to the Federal Reserve and has a record of delaying ultimate passage of popular legislation by withholding his signature from conference reports. Carper has been a vocal champion of transportation and supporter of increasing the motor fuel user fee to fund the bill.

The House named conferees from the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee soon after it passed its version of the DRIVE Act last week. Additional House conferees will be named from other committees of jurisdiction once the House bill is fully enrolled with the over 60 amendments agreed to before final passage.

Republican conferees include Bill Shuster, Pa., John Duncan, Tenn., Sam Graves, Mo., Candice Miller, Mich., Rick Crawford, Ark., Lou Barletta, Pa., Blake Farenthold, Texas, Bob Gibbs, Ohio, Jeff Denham, Calif., Reid Ribble, Wis., Scott Perry, Pa., Rob Woodall, Ga., John Katko, N.Y., Bruce Babin, Texas, Cresent Hardy, Nev., Garret Graves, La.

Democratic House conferees are Peter DeFazio, Ore., Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C., Jerrold Nadler, N.Y., Corrine Brown, Fla., Eddie Bernice Johnson, Texas, Elijah Cummings, Md., Rick Larsen, Wash., Michael Capuano, Mass., Grace Napolitano, Calif., Daniel Lipinski, Ill., Steve Cohen, Tenn., Albio Sires, N.J.