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Charles Bolden, nominee for Administrator of NASA, center, and Lori Garver, right, nominee for deputy administrator of NASA, testify at their confirmation hearing before the Committee in 2009.

The United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation is a standing committee of the United States Senate.[1] It is empowered with legislative oversight of the Coast Guard and Merchant Marine, interstate commerce, communications, highways, aviation, rail, shipping, transportation security, oceans, fisheries, climate change, disasters, science, nonmilitary aeronautical and space sciences, sports, tourism, consumer issues, economic development, technology, competitiveness, product safety, insurance, and standards and measurement. The committee also has jurisdiction over coastal zone management, inland waterways (except construction), the Panama Canal and other interoceanic canals, and commerce aspects of Continental Shelf lands.[1]

The Committee is one of the largest in the Senate with 25 members in the 114th Congress. It is composed of seven subcommittees, and the Committee Chairman is Sen. John Thune (R-SD) and its Ranking Member is Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL). Nelson is the only sitting Member of Congress who served as an astronaut.[2] The majority office is housed in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, and the minority office is located in the Hart Senate Office Building.[1]


The Committee has its roots in the Committee on Commerce and Manufacturers, which served as a standing committee in the early-1800s. This committee was split in two in the 1820s and remained in this configuration until the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946. Under the LRA, the number of standing committees was dramatically decreased to streamline increase congressional efficiency and increase institutional strength. As a result, the Committee on Commerce, the Committee on Manufactures, the Committee on Interstate Commerce, and the Committee on Interoceanic Canals were combined into the United States Senate Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce. In 1977, as a part of widespread committee reorganization, the Committee renamed the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation and given additional oversight jurisdiction over nonmilitary aeronautical and space sciences, including the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

The original progenitors of this committee were:

Members, 115th Congress[edit]

Majority Minority



Subcommittee Chair Ranking Member
Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security   Roy Blunt (R-MO)   Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet   Roger Wicker (R-MS)   Brian Schatz (D-HI)
Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance and Data Security   Jerry Moran (R-KS)   Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)
Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard   Dan Sullivan (R-AK)   Gary Peters (D-MI)
Space, Science and Competitiveness   Ted Cruz (R-TX)   Ed Markey (D-MA)
Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security   Deb Fischer (R-NE)   Cory Booker (D-NJ)


Committee on Commerce and Manufactures, 1816–1825[edit]

Chairman Party State Years
William Hunter Federalist Rhode Island 1816–1817
Nathan Sanford Democratic-Republican New York 1817–1820
Mahlon Dickerson Democratic Republican New Jersey 1820–1825

Committee on Commerce, 1825–1947[edit]

Chairman Party State Years
James Lloyd National Republican Massachusetts 1825–1826
Josiah Johnston National Republican Louisiana 1826–1827
Levi Woodbury Democratic New Hampshire 1827–1831
John Forsyth Democratic Georgia 1831–1832
William R. King Democratic Alabama 1832–1833
Nathaniel Silsbee Whig Massachusetts 1833–1835
Robert Henry Goldsborough Whig Maryland 1835–1836
John Davis Whig Massachusetts 1836–1837
William R. King Democratic Alabama 1837–1841
Jabez Huntington Whig Connecticut 1841–1845
William Haywood Democratic North Carolina 1845–1846
John Adams Dix Democratic New York 1846–1849
Hannibal Hamlin Democratic Maine 1849–1856
Henry Dodge Democratic Wisconsin 1856–1857
Clement Claiborne Clay Democratic Alabama 1857–1861
Zachariah Chandler Republican Michigan 1861–1875
Roscoe Conkling Republican New York 1875–1879
John B. Gordon Democratic Georgia 1879–1880
Matt Ransom Democratic North Carolina 1880–1881
Samuel J. R. McMillan Republican Maine 1881–1887
William P. Frye Republican Maine 1887–1893
Matt Ransom Democratic North Carolina 1893–1895
William P. Frye Republican Maine 1895–1911
Knute Nelson Republican North Dakota 1911–1913
James P. Clarke Democratic Arkansas 1913–1916
Duncan U. Fletcher Democratic Florida 1916–1919
Wesley L. Jones Republican Washington 1919–1930
Hiram W. Johnson Republican California 1930–1933
Hubert D. Stephens Democratic Mississippi 1933–1935
Royal S. Copeland Democratic New York 1935–1939
Josiah W. Bailey Democratic North Carolina 1939–1947

Committee on Interstate Commerce, 1887–1947[edit]

Chairman Party State Years
Shelby M. Cullom Republican Illinois 1887–1893
Matthew Butler Democratic South Carolina 1893–1895
Shelby M. Cullom Republican Illinois 1895–1901
Stephen Elkins Republican West Virginia 1901–1911
Moses E. Clapp Republican Minnesota 1911–1913
Francis G. Newlands Democratic Nevada 1913–1917
Ellison D. Smith Democratic South Carolina 1917–1919
Albert B. Cummins Republican Iowa 1919–1924
Ellison D. Smith Democratic South Carolina 1924–1925
James E. Watson Republican Indiana 1925–1928
James Couzens Republican Michigan 1928–1933
Clarence C. Dill Democratic Washington 1933–1935
Burton K. Wheeler Democratic Montana 1935–1947

Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, 1947–1961[edit]

Chairman Party State Years
Wallace H. White, Jr. Republican Maine 1947–1949
Edwin C. Johnson Democratic Colorado 1949–1953
Charles W. Tobey Republican New Hampshire 1953
John W. Bricker Republican Ohio 1953–1955
Warren G. Magnuson Democratic Washington 1955–1961

Committee on Commerce, 1961–1977[edit]

Chairman Party State Years
Warren G. Magnuson Democratic Washington 1961–1977

Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, 1977–present[edit]

Chairman Party State Years
Warren G. Magnuson Democratic Washington 1977–1978
Howard W. Cannon Democratic Nevada 1978–1980
Bob Packwood Republican Oregon 1981–1985
John Danforth Republican Missouri 1985–1987
Ernest F. Hollings Democratic South Carolina 1987–1995
Larry Pressler Republican South Dakota 1995–1997
John McCain Republican Arizona 1997–2001
Ernest F. Hollings Democratic South Carolina 2001
John McCain Republican Arizona 2001
Ernest F. Hollings Democratic South Carolina 2001–2003
John McCain Republican Arizona 2003–2005
Ted Stevens Republican Alaska 2005–2007
Daniel K. Inouye Democratic Hawaii 2007–2009
Jay Rockefeller Democratic West Virginia 2009–2015
John Thune Republican South Dakota 2015–present


External links[edit]


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