Who's Who on the Hill
Meet the DC power crowd
On Capitol Hill, the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee of the U.S. Senate is a hotbed of trucking legislation. Here's why this committee is so important

Known to some as the “legislative trenches,” congressional committees are where the road starts for bills on Capitol Hill. Committees are where lawmakers hold hearings, draft, debate and amend legislation before it gets sent on for consideration by the full House or the Senate.

Committees are also where the vast majority of the thousands of bills introduced every year die without having seen the light of day. To say the least, congressional committees are where the action is, and next to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, the Senate’s Commerce Committee is the most important group for truckers.

Its formal name is the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and it is composed of 22 senators and led by Committee Chairman Daniel K. Inouye, D-HI, and Vice Chairman Ted Stevens, R-AK. They assumed their positions in January 2007.

Under their leadership, the committee is composed of seven subcommittees, which together oversee the vast range of issues under its jurisdiction. These issues range from communications, highways, aviation, rail, shipping, transportation security, merchant marine, the Coast Guard, oceans, fisheries, climate change, disasters, science, space, interstate commerce, tourism, consumer issues, economic development, technology, competitiveness, product safety and insurance.

Chairman: Daniel K. Inouye, D-Hawaii
Vice Chairman: Ted Stevens, R-Alaska

Democratic committee members in order of seniority:

  • John D. Rockefeller IV, West Virginia
  • John F. Kerry, Massachusetts
  • Byron L. Dorgan, North Dakota
  • Barbara Boxer, California
  • Bill Nelson, Florida
  • Maria Cantwell, Washington
  • Frank R. Lautenberg, New Jersey
  • Mark Pryor, Arkansas
  • Thomas R. Carper, Delaware
  • Claire C. McCaskill, Missouri
  • Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota

Republican committee members in order of seniority:

  • John McCain, Arizona
  • Trent Lott, Mississippi
  • Kay Bailey Hutchison, Texas
  • Olympia J. Snowe, Maine
  • Gordon Smith, Oregon
  • John Ensign, Nevada
  • John E. Sununu, New Hampshire
  • Jim DeMint, South Carolina
  • David Vitter, Louisiana
  • John R. Thune, South Dakota


An important subcommittee of the Senate's Commerce Committee is the subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security. This subcommittee is the one most watched by truckers and the trucking advocacy. Its chairman is Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, D-New Jersey. Other subcommittees of the Commerce Committee are:

  • Aviation Operations, Safety and Security
    Chairman John D. Rockefeller IV, D-West Virginia
  • Consumer Affairs, Insurance and Automotive Safety
    Chairman Mark Pryor, D-Arkansas
  • Interstate Commerce, Trade and Tourism
    Chairman Byron L. Dorgan, D-North Dakota
  • Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard
    Chairwoman Maria Cantwell, D-Washington
  • Science, Technology and Innovation
    Chairman John F. Kerry, D-Massachusetts
  • Space, Aeronautics and Related Sciences
    Chairman Bill Nelson, D-Florida