By Lauren Schapker, vice president of legislative affairs, ARTBA
Democrats won a slim majority in the Senate with the Jan. 5 Georgia runoff victories of Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff.
The Senate will be split 50-50, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) able to break any tie votes after the Jan. 20 inaugural. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is expected to be Majority Leader, replacing Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)
The shift in control will mean new leaders in key committees. While those assignments have not yet been formalized, the likely chairs of Senate committees with relevant jurisdiction on surface transportation issues are:Despite the slim majority, Democrats will still need to meet a 60-vote threshold to advance legislation on most issues, requiring bipartisan cooperation. However, a procedure known as budget reconciliation may be used in limited applications, allowing certain tax and spending bills to advance with only 50 votes, plus the tie-breaking support of Harris.
House Democrats, including House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth (R-Ky.), have discussed using budget reconciliation to advance infrastructure legislation.
Democrats also hold a narrow majority in the House, 222 to 211, with one seat in New York and one in Louisiana still being determined.