Two more pilots are joining the powerful U.S. House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee when the 114th Congress convenes in January. The Committee and its Aviation Subcommittee will play a vital role in setting long-term spending priorities for the FAA during the 2015 Reauthorization process.
Rep. Todd Rokita, (R-Ind.), is among the 12 new committee members announced on Dec. 10. Rokita is an active pilot and member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. He is also an original co-sponsor of the General Aviation Pilot Protection Act (GAPPA), which reforms the third-class medical certification process, as well as a member of the House GA Caucus and one of general aviation’s staunchest allies in Congress.
Also joining the committee is freshman Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas), an inactive pilot and past AOPA member.
“We are excited to have so many pilots serving on the critically important Transportation and Infrastructure Committee,” said AOPA President Mark Baker. “These are lawmakers who understand, use, and value general aviation. Under the leadership of returning Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) and newly appointed Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), this committee will have the challenge of addressing critical aviation issues, including future funding for the FAA and its programs, during the next Congress.”
Rokita and Babin join House GA Caucus Co-Chair Sam Graves (R-Mo.), who will be returning to the Transportation Committee during the new Congress. Graves, who is an active pilot and AOPA member, is also an original GAPPA co-sponsor.
Also returning to the committee are AOPA member Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.), a GA Caucus member and early GAPPA co-sponsor; and Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), a GA Caucus member, GAPPA co-sponsor, and former military helicopter pilot.
Although subcommittee assignments have not yet been made, leadership of the Aviation Subcommittee will not change, with Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) returning as chairman and Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.) returning as ranking member.
In addition to Rokita and Babin, the other new Republican members of the Transportation Committee are Rep. Rob Woodall of Georgia, and freshmen Reps. John Katko of New York, Cresent Hardy of Nevada, Ryan Costello of Pennsylvania, Garret Graves of Louisiana, Mimi Walters of California, Barbara Comstock of Virginia, Carlos Curbelo of Florida, David Rouzer of North Carolina, and Lee Zeldin of New York.
The Democrats have not yet announced new committee members.