Commerce Committee Approves Five Bills and Three Nominations

Surface Transportation Board Reforms Approved by Voice Vote

March 25, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation approved five bills by voice vote and three nominations listed below.

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman, issued the following statements:

On the bipartisan markup:  “Today’s mark-up included contributions from Senators on both sides of the aisle, and the bills approved by the Committee will address important issues in our transportation system and extend the authorizations of successful programs.”

On the passage of S.808, the Surface Transportation Board Reauthorization Act of 2015:  “The major rail service issues experienced in 2013 and 2014 in South Dakota, the Upper Midwest, and across the country are fresh in my mind, including the grain car backlogs, the storage constraints, and the increased rail car premiums shippers and businesses faced. While the Surface Transportation Board has been working diligently to ensure these issues do not happen again, the recent service crisis highlighted inefficiencies at the agency that Congress has the ability to address. This legislation will help the STB address such issues and operate with increased transparency, accessibility, and efficiency.”

On the passage of S. 834, Sport Fish Restoration and Recreational Boating Safety Act:  “This program helps ensure our natural water resources receive needed care so that they remain available for the use and enjoyment of generations to come. Sport fishermen and recreational boaters value and support this trust fund that allocates funds to protect wetlands, restore fisheries, and support a national recreational boating safety program.”

Bills and nominations passed by voice vote are as follows:
1. S. 808, Surface Transportation Board Reauthorization Act of 2015, Sponsor: Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.)
2. S. 650, Railroad Safety and Positive Train Control Extension Act, Sponsor: Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.)

•    Passed with Blumenthal Amendment

3. S. 834, Sport Fish Restoration and Recreational Boating Safety Act, Sponsor: Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.)

4. S. 764, A bill to reauthorize and amend the National Sea Grant College Program Act, Sponsor: Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.)

•    Passed with Schatz Amendment

5. S. 766, Driver Privacy Act, Sponsor: Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.)

6. Nomination of  Dr. Willie E. May, of Maryland, to be Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology

7. Nomination of Dr. Dava J. Newman, of Massachusetts, to be Deputy Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration

8. Nomination of Ms. Patricia D. Cahill, of Missouri, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (reappointment)