The election for Congress is over, but the race for key leadership positions in the U.S. House has just begun. Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Blair) announced the he will seek the chairmanship of the prominent Transportation and Infrastructure Committee – a post his father and predecessor Bud Shuster held during the 1990s.
“In my 11 years on the Committee – including 8 years of leadership as Chairman or Ranking Member of two key subcommittees – I have demonstrated principle driven, inclusive leadership and achieved a strong record of accomplishments,” Shuster wrote in a letter to colleagues.
In addition to his pedigree, Shuster has a long resume of prominence on transportation issues. House Speaker John Boehner tapped him in March to shepherd a big funding bill through the House and into law. He had to balance moderates with the new, vocal, Tea Party contingent of the caucus.
Shuster’s main potential rival? Current Chairman John Mica (R-FL). Mica’s served for 6 years, the leadership-imposed limit, but may seek a waiver from leadership to stay on for another term.
Mica hasn’t said yet what he intends to do, but Shuster told The Hill that he would pursue the chairmanship regardless.
The selection process plays to Shuster’s strength as a well-connected congressional insider. After the caucus selects its leadership next week (Boehner et al are expected to stay put), House members will select a 30 person steering committee – and Shuster is likely to remain a member of that committee.
The steering committee then interviews candidates and votes on a recommendation. The recommendation goes before the caucus as a whole for a vote; it’s rare for the steering committee’s choice not to carry the day.
He defeated longshot Democratic candidate Karen Ramsburg 62 percent to 38 to win re-election on Tuesday.