The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will hold an executive session on Thursday, June 25, 2015, at 10:30 a.m. to consider the following legislative measures and nominations.
1. S. 1626, Railroad Reform, Enhancement, and Efficiency Act, Sponsors: Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.)
2. S. 1611, Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2015, Sponsors: Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.)
3. S. 1573, National Weather Service Improvement Act, Sponsor: Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) with consideration of a Thune/Schatz substitute amendment
4. S. 1298, A bill to provide nationally consistent measures of performance of the Nation’s ports, Sponsors: Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), and Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.)
5. S. 1403, Florida Fisheries Improvement Act, Sponsor: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)
6. S. 1551, DOTCOM Act, Sponsors: Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.)
7. S. 1182, A bill to exempt application of JSA attribution rule in case of existing agreements, Sponsors: Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), and Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.)
8. S. 1250, Nicholas and Zachary Burt Memorial Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act of 2015, Sponsors: Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Sen. Bob Casey (D-Penn.), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.)
9. Nominations for Promotion in the United States Coast Guard
*Agenda is subject to change
Click here for results of the executive session.
Executive Session Details:
Thursday, June 25, 2015
10:30 a.m. in Senate Russell Office Building, Room 253
A live video of the markup and additional information will be available at on this page
For reporters interested in reserving a seat, please contact the press gallery:
• Periodical Press Gallery – 202-224-0265
• Radio/Television Gallery – 202-224-6421
• Press Photographers Gallery – 202-224-6548
• Daily Press Gallery – 202-224-0241
Individuals with disabilities who require an auxiliary aid or service, including closed captioning service for the webcast hearing, should contact Stephanie Gamache at 202-224-5511 at least three business days in advance of the hearing date.
Chairman John Thune
Good morning. While we await our quorum, I’d like to say a few words about the items on today’s agenda.
First, I’d like to commend Senators Wicker and Booker for their leadership in crafting a truly bi-partisan passenger rail bill. The Railroad Reform, Enhancement, and Efficiency Act (S. 1626) increases safety, improves existing infrastructure, and includes sorely needed reforms proposed by several Committee members.
For example, the bill incorporates the great work done by Senator Blunt with the TRAIN Act (S. 769), co-sponsored by Senators Machin, Heller, and me, to streamline the rail project permitting processes, cutting red tape and making federal infrastructure dollars go further.
In addition, the bill includes key reforms from Senator Booker’s Railroad Infrastructure Financing Improvement Act, co-sponsored by Senators Heller, Carper, and Kirk, to create a faster and more flexible railroad rehabilitation program.As we consider this bill, I would like to point out the importance of the dedicated safety title, which includes critical measures addressing issues from grade crossing safety to speed limit enforcement.
My amendment (Thune 1), which I’ll discuss in more detail when we turn to amendments, adds several provisions to the underlying bill’s safety title. These include requirements for the use of protective thermal blankets on tank cars and inward- and outward-facing cameras on passenger railroads.
The second item on today’s agenda is the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2015 (S. 1611). I would like to thank Senators Nelson, Rubio, and Booker for working with me on this two-year reauthorization bill, which builds on the success of the one-year bill we passed last December.
While holding authorization levels steady, this bill improves the Coast Guard’s command structure, enhances its mission effectiveness, and supports the Service’s ongoing efforts to modernize its fleet of aging vessels.
I would also like to thank Senator Schatz for his collaboration with me on an important bi-partisan substitute amendment to S. 1573, the National Weather Service Improvement Act, that will improve the manner in which NOAA issues severe weather watches and warnings to better protect life and property. It will also require an annual report from NOAA about certain contracting abuses the Inspector General recently identified.
We will also consider S. 1298, the Port Performance Act, today, which I introduced along with Senators Fischer, Gardner, and Alexander.
America’s ports play a critical role in the Nation’s supply chain network.
Breakdowns in this network, particularly at the Nation’s ports, can result in tremendous economic losses.
The Department of Transportation and the Maritime Administration have both noted that there is a lack of data surrounding international freight movement and overall port efficiency. In addition, a 2004 National Academies study recommended that the Department take the lead in measuring and monitoring the Nation’s maritime transportation system. S. 1298 would address those information gaps.
The Port Performance Act is supported by more than 100 associations, including the American Chemistry Council, the U.S. Chamber, the National Grain and Feed Association, the Agriculture Transportation Coalition, National Retail Federation, Alliance of Automobile Manufactures, the National Association of Manufactures, the National Association of Chemical Distributors, Allied Potato, and the American Cotton Shippers Association. I appreciate their support of this common sense legislation.
Today we will also consider Senator Rubio’s Florida Fisheries Improvement Act (S. 1403). I know that he has been working on this legislation since last Congress, and I look forward to continuing to work with him and other members of this Committee on fisheries issues that impact their respective states and regions.
We will also take up the bipartisan DOTCOM Act, S.1551, which I introduced with Senator Schatz. Tuesday night, the House passed the same bill with 378 votes, and I look forward to keeping the momentum going on this important legislation that will provide additional Congressional oversight of the Administration’s efforts on international Internet governance.
Another bill with strong bipartisan backing is Senator Blunt’s bill on broadcaster joint sales agreements,
S. 1182, which is cosponsored by Senators Schumer, Durbin, Mikulski, Cardin, Wicker, Scott and Johnson.
We’ll also consider Senator Klobuchar’s bill, S. 1250, to help prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Named for two young victims of this silent killer, Nicholas and Zachary Burt, Senator Klobuchar’s bill is substantially similar to one the Committee reported without opposition last Congress.
And, lastly, we’ll approve a handful of nominations for promotion in the U.S. Coast Guard.