On Wednesday, October 28th the U.S. Capitol Historical Society’s Leadership Council and Brumidi Society members gathered in the Cannon Caucus room to honor the Members and staff of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. Established by the first act of Congress, the Committee on Rivers and Harbors, the predecessor to today’s committee, is mandated in Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution. Today this is the largest Committee in Congress with 74 current members. Former Chairmen of the Committee Bob Roe, Bud Shuster, and Don Young were in attendance to celebrate with their colleagues. The event was graciously supported by The Boeing Company, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Trucking Association, Schering-Plough Corporation, and the Air Transport Association of America.
The evening’s keynote speaker was U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. As a former member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Secretary LaHood celebrated the unique bipartisan camaraderie in the Committee. He thanked the Committee members for setting such a fine example for other committees in Congress.
Chairman James Oberstar (MN) and Ranking Member John Mica (FL) gave remarks celebrating the rich history of this committee. Congressman Oberstar spoke about the acts passed by the Committee’s predecessor during the first Congress to establish lighthouses and move cargo along waterways laying the foundations of America. Oberstar emphasized that, “Our traditions, this committee, are deeply rooted in the history of our country and its evolution of its movement of people and goods to this very day.” Congressman Mica shared many examples of how little things have changed since the first Congress, such as public-private partnerships. The room filled with laughter many times as Mica continued to describe appropriations for lighthouses hidden under the category “pensions for invalids” and the lofty expectations of the public for trains to go 15 miles per hour “as a regular business.”
As Congressman Oberstar concluded, his remarks captured the essence of the evening. “We stick together; we prevail for the good of America. John Mica and I have stuck together. This committee has stuck together. America is a better country for it. We will have a better future for it. And I thank you all for being here tonight to celebrate the history of the Committee on Public Works and Transportation and Infrastructure.”
The Society annually hosts a dinner to honor the history of a Committee of the House or Senate.
Click on the links below to listen to or read the remarks from the dinner: