When 91-year-old Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) relinquished his chairmanship of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee late last year, the domino effect thrust Sen. John Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.) into the chairmanship of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.
General aviation groups pled-ged to work with the Obama Administration when it takes the reins of the federal government early next year, but in the days following the election there was much speculation about how things would shake out on Capitol Hill, in the Transportation Department and in the FAA.
• Congress enjoyed a recess for the Thanksgiving holiday period, but not all members of the Senate availed themselves of the break. The Constitution gives a President authority to make appointments to top federal positions without Senate approval if that chamber is adjourned for more than three days without reconvening on the fourth.
Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.), considered the most knowledgeable member of Congress on aviation issues, will lead the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee when the 110th Congress convenes this month. The ranking Republican on the committee will be Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), who was most recently chairman of the House aviation subcommittee. Rep. Jerry Costello (D-Ill.) is in line to chair that subcommittee.