Senate Commerce Approves Nomination of TSA Administrator

Thune and Nelson Issue Statements following Committee Vote

June 4, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, by voice vote in an off-the-floor executive session in room S-216 of the U.S. Capitol, approved the nomination of current U.S. Coast Guard Vice Admiral Peter V. Neffenger for the post of Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security, and Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Commerce Committee chairman, U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) issued the following statement on the committee’s vote to approve Neffenger:

“Vice Admiral Neffenger is highly qualified to lead TSA and take on the difficult challenge of creating a culture of accountability within the agency. Terrorist groups like ISIS want to hit us where we are most vulnerable – the 50,000 men and women of TSA have an incredibly important job and little margin for error. Commerce Committee members, on a bipartisan basis, have been asking President Obama for a nominee since January and worked together to expeditiously to consider this nomination.”

Commerce ranking member, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) also issued the following statement:

“Investigation by the TSA’s inspector general paints a picture of an agency that is not fully up to the task of protecting the traveling public. That’s why we need to get new leaders like Admiral Neffenger in there quickly.”  

On October 16, 2014, the previous Senate-confirmed TSA Administrator John Pistole announced his departure. His final day on the job was December 31, 2014. On January 26, a group of five bipartisan Senators, led by Chairman Thune (R-S.D.) and Ranking Member Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), sent President Obama a letter calling on him to prioritize the formal nomination of a qualified, experienced, and dedicated individual to be TSA Administrator. On April 28, the administration formally announced the nomination of Vice Admiral Neffenger. The Commerce Committee held a nomination hearing on May 21 after the nominee submitted initial paperwork to the Committee, and noticed the off-the-floor markup of the nomination to committee members on May 28. In reporting the nominee, the Commerce Committee still expects DHS to provide information related to requests about recent TSA security lapses.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee now has 30 days to consider the nomination before Senate floor consideration of Vice Admiral Neffenger’s nomination.