U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a hearing at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, May 16, 2018, to consider three presidential nominees.
Completed nomination questionnaires are available at www.commerce.senate.gov/nominations
- Mr. Joseph Gruters, of Florida, to be a Director of the Amtrak Board of Directors
- Ms. Jennifer Homendy, of Virginia, to be a Member of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)
- Ms. Heidi King, of California, to be Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
*Witness list subject to change.
Wednesday, May 16, 2018
This hearing will take place in Russell Senate Office Building, Room 253. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on www.commerce.senate.gov.
Chairman John Thune
Chairman John R. Thune
The three nominees before the committee today have been nominated for positions critical to safety, on the roads, the rails and in the sky.
Ms. Heidi King has been nominated to serve as the administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
NHTSA needs to be on the front lines of detecting serious vehicle safety defects and issuing recalls.
And this, quite frankly, is an area where NHTSA has failed.
For years, NHTSA has struggled with the Takata airbag inflator recalls.
Recall completion rates have lagged, and the death and injury toll continues to rise – particularly in my home state of Florida.
During today’s hearing, I hope Ms. King will provide a detailed plan on how she will demand accountability from those involved in the Takata fiasco and finally implement a real strategy to help drivers get safe airbags in their vehicles as soon as possible.
NHTSA also needs to do more to increase highway safety, including truck safety.
One way to do this is to have more use of underride guards on trucks so that cars don’t slide underneath during collisions.
The addition of this safety shield could have helped saved the lives of many, including Lois Durso’s daughter Roya. Lois is here today, along with other tireless advocates.
And I hope Ms. King has some answers for the Durso family on that issue. They certainly deserve it.
The National Transportation Safety Board is another very important independent agency that investigates transportation accidents and promotes safety.
Unfortunately, tragic accidents happen. We know this all too well in my home state of Florida.
Whether it was the sinking of the El Faro cargo ship, the collapse of the Florida International University pedestrian bridge or the recent Tesla crash, families of victims rely on the board to thoroughly investigate these accidents.
Ms. Homendy, if you are confirmed, and I certainly hope you are, we will rely on you.
Finally, Representative Gruters, I hope you agree with that it is critically important to Florida that Amtrak continues to be a strong and safe agency.
For example, Florida relies on having reliable, on-time long-distance service to the state. Currently, many towns along the Gulf Coast are working to restore Amtrak service that was stopped after Hurricane Katrina.
Following several deadly accidents over the last few years, safety must also be a top priority at Amtrak.
Mr. Chairman, thank you again for holding this hearing. I now look forward to hearing from the witnesses.
Witness Panel 1
Mr. Joseph Gruters
Ms. Jennifer Homendy
Ms. Heidi King