Click here to watch Wicker’s remarks
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today delivered the following remarks during the Committee’s Executive Session.
Remarks as delivered:
Well, thank you, Madam Chair and I'm glad you made it clear during your remarks that I will not be leaving the Committee, I’ll simply be leaving the ranking member position to take that capacity in the Armed Services Committee. I'll be moving a few seats down the way here. And thank you very much for the kind remarks and for the summary of our accomplishments.
I have enjoyed working with Senator Cantwell as both chairman of this committee myself and as her ranking member, and I appreciate the list of accomplishments that she has stated.
But thank you for convening this Executive Session. It does involve a number of key nominations within the Committee's jurisdiction. I will make the motion to report these nominees being considered by the Committee today for the Amtrak board, the Surface Transportation Board, the Marine Mammal Commission, and the Board of Directors of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Additionally, I want to congratulate the 288 men and women in the U.S. Coast Guard, whose promotions will be advanced to the full Senate today, and I hope for their speedy confirmation. In particular, I want to recognize a former Coast Guard fellow in my office, Andy Pate, and Brendan Gavin, who is with us today and who is currently a Coast Guard fellow on my committee staff. They're both included on the list of promotions to the rank of “Captain” which the committee will vote on today.
While I will support reporting the Amtrak board nominees to Democrat seats on the board, I will follow established precedent of withholding support for their confirmation by the full Senate until we have nominees for Republican seats, which are also ready for confirmation by the full Senate. I also want to emphasize the need for Amtrak to serve all its customers effectively, including on the National Network, and I appreciate the Chair's comments in that regard. As several of us on this Committee have observed, these nominees are concentrated in states served by the Northeast Corridor, yet they must be willing to focus on improving the quality of Amtrak's operations around the country.
So thank you, and I yield back to you, Senator Cantwell.