The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will hold an executive session on Wednesday, June 27, at 10:00 a.m. to consider the following legislative measures and nominations.
Click here for additional information on nominees.
- S. 645, Measuring the Economic Impact of Broadband Act of 2017, Sponsors: Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Angus King (I-Maine)
- S. 1092, Interstate Transport Act of 2017, Sponsors: Sens. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), James Risch (R-Idaho), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)
- S. 1896, TSA LEAP Pay Reform Act of 2017, Sponsor: Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.)
- S. 2941, Strengthening the Cooperative Observer Program Act of 2018, Sponsor: Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.)
- S. 3094, Transportation Worker Identification Credential Act of 2018, Sponsors: Sens. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Gary Peters (D-Mich.)
- H.R. 4254, Women in Aerospace Education Act, Sponsors: Reps. Stephen Knight (R-Calif.), Barbara Comstock (R-Va.), Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.), Bill Foster (D-Ill.), Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Lamar Smith (R-Texas)
- H.R. 4467, Strengthening Aviation Security Act, Sponsor: Rep. Jody B. Hice (R-Ga.), John Katko (R-N.Y.), Michael McCaul (R-Texas), Paul Mitchell (R-Mich.)
- H.R. 4559, Global Aviation System Security Reform Act, Sponsor: Rep. Ron Estes (R-Kan.), John Katko (R-N.Y.), Michael McCaul (R-Texas)
- Nomination of Karen Dunn Kelley, of Pennsylvania, to be Deputy Secretary of Commerce
- Nomination of Heidi R. King, of California, to be Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
- Nomination of Geoffrey Adam Starks, of Kansas, to be a Member of the Federal Communications Commission
- Nomination of Peter A. Feldman, of the District of Columbia, to be a Commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission
- Promotion of Coast Guard Rear Admiral Andrew S. McKinley
*Agenda subject to change
Executive Session Details:
Wednesday, June 27, 2018
Full Committee Markup
Senate Dirksen Building, Room 106
A live video of the markup and additional information will be available at www.commerce.senate.gov
Chairman John Thune
Good morning. Thank you all for being here. Today we have another full agenda with eight legislative items and five nominations.
I’m especially pleased that we’ll consider my bill, the Strengthening the Cooperative Observer Program Act of 2018. The Cooperative Observer Program – or COOP system - is the nation’s largest and oldest weather network, with over 4,000 sites, staffed by over 11,000 volunteers.
In my home state of South Dakota, over 150 residents upload rain, hail, snow, and other weather data from their backyards daily, which provides critical weather and climate data.
Although COOP is a successful program, there are many places with limited observations, particularly in rural areas. Maintaining an adequate volunteer pool is another ongoing challenge as current volunteers move or pass away.
My bill directs the National Weather Service to provide additional support for COOP, particularly in areas with sparse data collection, by increasing COOP volunteer participation, adding data collection stations, and ensuring that long-running stations are continually maintained and staffed by volunteers.
We will also be considering the nomination of Peter Feldman, one of the Committee’s own, to be a Commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Many of us here know Peter for his role leading bipartisan efforts in consumer protection, product safety, oversight, and investigations. Once confirmed, his temperament, experience, and overall spirit of collaboration will be a great asset to the Commission.
It is my hope that Peter and all of the nominees will be considered on the floor expeditiously.
With that, I will turn to Senator Nelson for any opening remarks.
Mr. Chairman, we have a good agenda before us.
On the nominees in particular, first, I must express concern that the administration has decided to stack two nominations for the CPSC nominee.
The first term is what we traditionally deal with in this committee – filling the remainder of an unexpired term. In this case, a term that would expire in October 2019.
The administration has decided to stack another seven-year term on top of that through October 2026.
This is not in line with traditional Senate practice and defies the whole premise of the Consumer Product Safety Act – which established staggered terms for the commission.
We’ve seen this before with stacked nominations for the FCC and I certainly don’t hold it against the nominees, but it needs to stop.
These agencies are supposed to be independent and this new practice undermines that.
I would also like to briefly address the nomination of Heidi King to run NHTSA.
As I have noted many times in this committee over the past several years, we have suffered a number of deaths and serious injuries in Florida because of defective Takata airbags.
And we are continuing to see injuries in Florida because many of these recalls have not been completed – often because consumers have to jump through all sorts of hoops to get them done.
I have repeatedly asked Ms. King to demonstrate to me that she’s going to take this issue seriously.
After providing several vague statements on the issue, Ms. King finally sent me a letter yesterday with a minimal plan of action to improve recall completion rates.
I appreciate this step, but the long delay in coming up with this plan indicates to me that she lacks the fire in the belly needed to protect consumers from dangerous vehicle defects.
We desperately need someone in this position who is a champion for consumers.
Sadly, I have concluded that Ms. King is not that person and I will oppose her nomination.
Finally, I am pleased that we are advancing the nomination of Geoffrey Starks today. Mr. Starks has committed to this committee to uphold the public interest.
Right now, Commissioner Rosenworcel alone is holding the line for consumers at the FCC. I hope that the Senate will move quickly on Mr. Starks’s nomination so that he can begin partnering with Commissioner Rosenworcel to fight against the dismantling of the FCC’s core principles.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.