Chairman Rockefeller's Remarks on Today's Nominations Hearing

November 18, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C.--Good afternoon. I want to welcome and congratulate our nominees. I commend you for accepting your nation’s call to serve.

I apologize in advance for having to leave before our second panel of nominees today.

I want to thank Senator Lautenberg for chairing the panel and for his deep commitment to Amtrak, culminating in the Amtrak Reauthorization that passed in the last Congress.

Now, it is my pleasure to welcome Mr. Scott B. Quehl, the president’s nominee to be Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary of Administration for the Department of Commerce.

If confirmed you will be responsible for overseeing the Department’s financial resources, human resources and facilities.

With the Department’s $17 billion budget and more than 38,000 employees, I am confident your financial management experience will serve you well in carrying out these vital responsibilities.

I am also pleased to welcome Mr. Suresh Kumar, the president’s nominee to be the Commerce Department’s Assistant Secretary of Trade Promotion and Director General of the U.S. Foreign and Commercial Services.

Mr. Philip Coyle has been nominated to be Associate Director for National Security and International Affairs in the Office of Science and Technology Policy.

This position is currently vacant and has sat unfilled for nearly a decade. I hope, Mr. Coyle, that your nomination will serve to highlight the important role of science in an inescapably connected global community.

Dr. Mark Rosekind has been reappointed by the president to be a Member of the National Transportation Safety Board.

While aviation accidents may get the most attention, the NTSB investigates accidents in all transportation modes. And in a majority of those accidents, fatigue has been a factor.

The NTSB has made recommendations to address fatigue, going back almost to the Board’s inception more than 40 years ago.

Going forward, Dr. Rosekind, I know that your expertise in sleep science will be a tremendous asset to the Board and our nation on this critical issue.

Later, the committee will hear from Anthony Coscia and Bert DiClemente, nominated to serve on the Amtrak Board of Directors.

That means implementing the significant reforms in the Amtrak Reauthorization law and the Administration’s policies supporting intercity and high-speed passenger rail; helping Amtrak become a bigger and better company and helping our nation meet its mobility goals.

Thank you again to our nominees for your testimony today and your service to our nation. I look forward to your speedy confirmation.