Full Committee nominations hearing scheduled for Tuesday, November 4, at 9:30 a.m. in room 253 of the Russell Senate Office Building. Members will hear statements from pending nominees before the Committee. Senator McCain will preside. Following is a tentative list of nominees:
Witness Panel 1
The Honorable Jeffrey L. RosenGeneral CounselU.S. Department of Transportation
Chairman McCain, Senator Hollings and Members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear here today. It is an honor both to have been nominated by President Bush and to appear before this Committee as you consider my nomination for the position of General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Transportation. After spending more than 21 years in the private practice of law, it would be a privilege for me to play a part in helping Secretary Mineta and the Department address the transportation issues that affect every citizen and every business in our country. Indeed, the transportation industries have been important to my family, and of great interest to me. My grandfather worked most of his life for a railroad in the northeast. My brother went to college at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical College because he wanted to fly. In my own professional career, I came into contact with a wide range of industries, occasionally including the transportation sector of our economy, such as cruise lines, ammonia pipelines, and automobiles. The Department of Transportation faces important challenges in improving the safety of our transportation systems, reducing congestion, and maintaining and improving our transportation infrastructure, while protecting our communities and environment. If confirmed as General Counsel, I would work to provide the Department with the highest quality of legal advice and representation. Because I was a litigator, as opposed to a specialist in transportation regulations or legislation, I will need to learn more about the details of the particular statutes under which the Department operates, and I have started that process. Given the variety and volume of the Department’s activities, I believe that my broad experience as a lawyer, as well as my experience in managing lawyers at a large law firm, would prove to be helpful if I am confirmed to serve as the chief legal officer of the Department of Transportation. Finally, let me say that I have a strong desire to participate in public service and contribute in some meaningful way to our country. Reflecting back many years, that was what attracted me to go to law school in the first place. I regard my nomination to this position as a great honor, and hope I will have the privilege to serve. If I am confirmed, I look forward to working with all of you and your staffs. Thank you again for giving me this opportunity to appear today, and I would be pleased to answer any questions you may have.
Ms. Cheryl Feldman HalpernNominated to be a Member of the Board of DirectorsCorporation for Public Broadcasting
Mr. Kirk Van TineNominated to be Deputy Secretary of TransportationU.S. Department of Transportation
Chairman McCain, Senator Hollings and members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to consider my nomination to be Deputy Secretary of the Department of Transportation. It is a privilege to be here and a great honor to have been selected by President Bush and Secretary Mineta for this position. If confirmed, I look forward to working closely with all the members of this Committee on the many important transportation issues facing the Department today. During the past two years, as General Counsel of the Department, I had the opportunity to work on a wide variety of transportation issues with a wide variety of people, both inside and outside the Department. I learned a great deal during that period, and I believe that, if I were confirmed, my experience as General Counsel would be valuable preparation for the duties of the Deputy Secretary. I understand the complexity of the issues before the Department, and I have learned from Secretary Mineta the importance of listening and establishing a dialogue among those with conflicting views. One of the hallmarks of Secretary Mineta’s tenure has been a persistent effort to achieve consensus where there are differences of opinion, and I view that as one of the fundamental responsibilities of the Deputy Secretary as well. If confirmed, I would also hope to work closely with all the members of this Committee in connection with the Secretary’s legislative priorities. As you know, the most urgent of those priorities right now are reaching agreement on the FAA reauthorization, and the reauthorization of the many surface transportation programs affecting the safety and infrastructure of our transportation system that will expire next February under the current TEA-21 extension. I would also hope to participate in an active dialogue with this Committee to help shape a new and stable future for national intercity passenger rail service in this country. A second objective, both in the short term and the long term, would be to help develop a seamless, smoothly functioning working relationship with the Department of Homeland Security in the many areas where our respective responsibilities intersect. While our relationship is already cooperative and productive, there are numerous issues pending now, and numerous issues that will arise as the Department of Homeland Security becomes fully operational, where close coordination and collaboration would help substantially to ensure that both the security and economic consequences of our respective actions are understood before, rather than after, the actions are taken. We owe it to the transportation industries that we deal with every day, and to the American people as a whole, to ensure that both missions are accomplished as efficiently and intelligently as possible. Finally, a traditional role of the Deputy Secretary is to focus on improving the management of the Department’s programs. While Secretary Mineta’s team has made excellent progress in that regard over the past few years, there is always room for improvement, as our Inspector General reminds us from time to time. As General Counsel, I worked closely with the Inspector General in addressing numerous management issues within the Department, and I would expect to maintain that excellent working relationship in the future. I take very seriously the Inspector General’s recommendations regarding the top management challenges facing the Department, including particularly the need for effective oversight of “mega projects.” Secretary Mineta has emphasized the need to deliver “full measure” to the American taxpayer in the programs we administer, and I believe that, if confirmed, my background would equip me well for that task. I know that you are extremely busy, and I would like to thank the Committee for scheduling today’s hearing. I would be pleased to respond to any questions you may have.
Mr. Michael GallagherNominated to be Assistant Secretary of Communications and InformationU.S. Department of Commerce
Mr. Chairman, Senator Hollings, and Members of the Committee, Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. I have had the opportunity to work closely with you and your capable staff on a number of difficult policy issues that have faced our country over the last two years, including a number of very difficult spectrum access issues. If confirmed, I look forward to further cooperation and shared achievement on behalf of the American people. I am also very grateful for the honor which President Bush and Secretary Evans have conferred on me by nominating me to be Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Telecommunications and Information. Telecommunications, technology, and the Internet are key drivers in our economy and society today. Since passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, our country has moved far beyond voice communication over copper telephone wires. As anticipated by Congress, the forces of competition, free markets and investment have dramatically improved our technology and telecommunications foundation. In 1996, the Internet was relatively new as a consumer phenomenon. Today, it is estimated that virtually every business, every classroom, and over 60% of households have access to and use the Internet. According to industry sources, in 1996 we had 38 million analog wireless customers; today we have over 150 million digital customers projected to use nearly 800 billion minutes this year. DVD players did not exist in 1996; today they are as common as VCRs and represent a content revenue stream greater than theater receipts. In 1996 broadband Internet access was a distant vision; today over 20 percent of American households subscribe to broadband service offered either by their cable or telephone provider. WiFi and other spectrum based technologies were theoretical in 1996; today they are widely available in consumer electronics stores and are changing the landscape for both wireless and wired services alike. All of these innovations and new services have enriched our lives and solidified the US economy as the most productive and resilient in the world. However, the correction of the of the technology and telecom “bubble” of the late 1990’s, a wave of corporate scandals, and an economy challenged by recession and terrorist attacks have taken a toll on the technology and telecommunications sectors. These forces have resulted in hundreds of billions of lost investment, hundreds of thousands of lost jobs, and scores of bankruptcies. One critical focus of policy in the coming years must be the fostering of an environment of entrepreneurship, competition and investment for the technology and telecommunications sectors of our economy -- so they can continue to enrich our society. If I am confirmed, I look forward to working with the Congress, the FCC, and U.S. industry in the development of national policies focused on cultivating that environment. Many other policy challenges face our telecommunications and technology sectors as well. While the Department of Commerce has had great success in working with the FCC on key spectrum issues like the authorization of ultrawideband technologies, finding an additional 90 MHz of spectrum for advanced wireless services (“3G”), and doubling the amount of spectrum for WiFi at 5 GHz, the pressure on spectrum policy will only continue to rise with the invention and deployment of very small computers that incorporate wireless capabilities. That pressure will require the NTIA, FCC and other federal agencies to redouble their commitment to the technical resources necessary to forge sharing arrangements that both authorize new technologies, but also protect our very valuable incumbent systems. Similarly, the continued growth and adoption of broadband Internet access and the productivity gains of our economy due to further deployment of computers and Internet-based technologies are dependent on the development of sound policies. The Administration, the Congress, and the independent agencies must work together to develop bipartisan policies to address the issues posed by a number of issues including, spam, critical infrastructure protection, privacy, cybersecurity, piracy, and the protection of children on the Internet. If confirmed, I look forward to leading NTIA in playing its part in meeting those challenges. The march of progress in technology and telecommunications is not unique to the United States. The deployment of smaller, more powerful computers, fiberoptics, and wireless technologies have made the world much smaller and more competitive. NTIA must work together with the FCC, the State Department, other federal agencies, and U.S. industry to continue to open foreign markets to U.S. companies and set the international policy framework for connecting networks and computers on terms favorable to both the economic and national security of the United States. In closing, let me once again thank you and the Committee for the opportunity to be here today. I look forward to the opportunity to continue to serve this Administration and work with the distinguished members of this Committee to meet the challenges facing our technology and telecommunications sectors. I look forward to answering any questions you may have for me.
Ms. Elizabeth CourtneyNominated to be a Member of the Board of DirectorsCorporation for Public Broadcasting