WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene an executive session at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, October 20, 2021 to consider the presidential nominations of Victoria Marie Wassmer, to be the Chief Financial Officer, DOT; Mohsin Raza Syed, to be Assistant Secretary for Government Affairs, DOT; Amitabha Bose, to be the Administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration, DOT; Meera Joshi to be the Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration; Mary Boyle, to be a Commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission; and Rear Admiral Nancy Hann, to be Director, NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps and Office of Marine and Aviation Operations.
Immediately following the executive session, the Committee will hold a hearing to consider the presidential nominations of Max Vekich to be a Commissioner of the Federal Maritime Commission; Christopher Coes to be Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy, DOT; and Laurie E. Locascio, to be Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology, DOC.
Commerce Committee Executive Session
Wednesday, October 20, 2021
Committee Hearing Room, Russell 253
Executive Session Agenda:
- Victoria Marie Wassmer, to be the Chief Financial Officer, DOT
- Mohsin Raza Syed, to be Assistant Secretary for Government Affairs, DOT
- Amitabha Bose, to be the Administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration
- Meera Joshi, to be the Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, DOT
- Mary Boyle, to be a Commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission
- Rear Admiral Nancy Hann, to be Director, NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps and Office of Marine and Aviation Operations
- Coast Guard Promotions (PN1144)
- Coast Guard Promotion (PN1073)
At the conclusion of the markup, the Committee will go directly into the nomination hearing.
- Max Vekich, to be a Commissioner of the Federal Maritime Commission
- Christopher Coes, to be Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy, DOT
- Laurie E. Locascio, to be Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology, DOC
WATCH LIVESTREAM: www.commerce.senate.gov
Due to current limited access to the Capitol complex, the general public is encouraged to view this hearing via the live stream. Social distancing is now lifted for vaccinated members of the press who wish to attend. The Office of the Attending Physician recommends that all individuals wear masks while in interior spaces and other individuals are present.
Chair Maria CantwellNominations Hearing Opening Statement
October 20, 2021
U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, Chair
We'll now turn to today's Commerce Committee hearing to consider the nominations of three individuals that will play critical roles in the advancing of our nation's core infrastructure and enhancing the resiliency of the supply chain.
I want to welcome the nominees and their families. So if they could come up to the dais and take a seat. First, we’ll consider the nomination of Dr. Locascio who has been nominated to be the Department of Commerce Under Secretary of Standards and Technology, and who serves as the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST. Dr. Locascio, welcome to you and your family. Senator Cardin will be providing a formal introduction, but I would also like to add a few words.
NIST’s portfolio of work is expansive. In setting standards for weights and measures, it helps to provide common understanding of how to measure time and weight and to ensure the safety of consumer products. NIST also provides critical guidance to companies on how to ensure cybersecurity and is tasked with establishing new government-industry semiconductor research initiatives.
The impact that our weakened supply chain has had on the semiconductor industry has exposed the need to re-establish manufacturing of most advanced semiconductor products in the United States -- we cannot afford to be dependent on other countries to access this critical technology. The United States Innovation and Competitiveness Act, USICA, which I mentioned earlier, was passed in the Senate and included support for our domestic semiconductor industry, and Dr. Locascio recently served as the Vice President of Research for the University of Maryland, where she was a professor and oversaw a billion dollar interdisciplinary research organization. With 30 years of service, including a division as the Chief in Biochemical Sciences, I look forward to learning more about your work and the things that we have to tackle at NIST as we move forward in a very, very competitive environment.
Next, we will consider the nomination of Max Vekich, who hails from the state of Washington, to be the Commissioner of the Federal Maritime Commission. The Federal Maritime Commission is a critical, independent federal agency that has the responsibility for ensuring that our ocean shipping and commerce remains fair and competitive. The importance of this commission and the role that our nominee will fill is especially important in the light of overwhelming congestion at our ports.
Port congestion is causing challenges not only for US exporters attempting to bring their products to market, but also to companies trying to get imported goods off of ships and into the US economy. The perspective and experience that Mr. Vekich will bring to this position of Commissioner is needed in this moment. He has a unique career, first serving as a member of the Washington Legislature, followed by a long career as a longshoreman in Grays Harbor and in Seattle. And welcome to you and your wife, Marcy. We're glad you're here to take on this challenge.
Mr. Vekich knows port and shipping communities firsthand. He spent his life working in the maritime industry, and knows the challenges faced by the maritime and intermodal transportation system. And I know he understands the importance of what a maritime economy is to the State of Washington's economy, and knows how important it is to our national economy as well.
Finally, we have the consideration the nominee Christopher Coes to be Assistant Secretary for Policy at the Department of Transportation. Mr. Coes, welcome to you and your family. The Assistant Secretary of Policy serves as key role in the development and implementation of the department's surface transportation policy initiatives. The position will be critical in implementing provisions of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, particularly the new multimodal freight initiatives created by this committee. And if confirmed, will also be an important advisor in aviation policy, especially the review of airport infrastructure programs.
Mr. Coes currently serves as the Acting Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy, previously served as the Vice President for Land Use and Development at Smart Growth America, where he worked to build equitable and sustainable communities.
In addition to his decade in this field, he will also bring a wealth of experience in transportation, community development, and organizational development. So thank you to all the nominees for your willingness to serve. I also want to thank Senator Cardin for being here, but I'm going to now call on the Ranking Member, Senator Wicker for his opening statement.
Witness Panel 1
Max VekichTo be a CommissionerFederal Maritime Commission
Christopher CoesTo be Assistant Secretary for Transportation PolicyDepartment of Transportation
Laurie E. LocascioTo be Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and TechnologyDepartment of Commerce