Press Releases

Commerce Committee Advances Four Biden Nominations

December 1, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation advanced four Biden Administration nominations and (487) Coast Guard Officer Promotions. All are subject to approval by the full Senate. 

The following nominations were reported: 

  1. Nomination of Jessica Rosenworcel, to be a Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission (PN1322)
  2. Nomination of Jainey Kumar Bavishi, to be Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere (PN1024)
  3. Nomination of Arun Venkataraman, to be Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Director General of the United States and Foreign Commercial Service (PN606)

The Nomination of Alvaro M. Bedoya to be a Federal Trade Commissioner (PN1156) received a tie vote. In accordance with S. Res. 27, the Majority Leader may make a motion to discharge the nomination to place it on the executive calendar.

  

The following Coast Guard Promotions were reported:

PN1219 – To earn the rank of Captain

  1.  Patrick J. Grace
  2. Ann M. Mcspadden
  3. Caroline A. Beckmann
  4. Tiffany H. Davidson
  5. Justin T. Moyer
  6. Michael F. Mccarthy
  7. Karl B. Hellberg 

PN1282

  1. Royce W. James - To earn the rank of Captain
  2. Joseph T. Benin - To earn the rank of Captain
  3. Matthew B. Williams - To earn the rank of Commander
  4. Peter H. Imbriale - To earn the rank of Lieutenant Commander

PN1283 - To earn the rank of Lieutenant Commander

  1. Brittany S. Akers
  2. Melissa E. Alma
  3. Bryan J. Andrews
  4. Shawn R. Antonelli
  5. Jonathan B. Ardan
  6. Joseph M. Atkins
  7. Stephen C. Atwell
  8. Brandi A. Belveal
  9. Tiffany L. Berry
  10. Daniel G. Beshoar
  11. Robert C. Bianco
  12. Robert J. Bickford
  13. Christopher P. Bodner
  14. Jordan C. Bogden
  15. Kristen R. Bradley
  16. Joshua W. Branthoover
  17. John P. Brass
  18. Dustin L. Brecher
  19. Andrew N. Breen
  20. Jessie K. Brenton
  21. Katharine E. Brodie
  22. Kellen R. Browne
  23. Michael A. Browning
  24. James C. Bruce
  25. Madeline A. Buchert
  26. Kyle D. Burke
  27. Erin C. Callahan
  28. Lisa M. Campbell
  29. Steven P. Caouette Jr
  30. Benjamin P. Cariddi
  31. Charles F. Cassiano
  32. Marguerite G. Champlin
  33. Fred V. Chase
  34. Robby L. Chavez
  35. Richard G. Cherkauer
  36. Andrew M. Chevalier
  37. Creighton C. Chong
  38. Kieran S. Clayton
  39. Christopher L. Clifton
  40. Nathaniel P. Clinger
  41. Thomas R. Cogley
  42. Case Alexander K. C. Colaw
  43. Charles V. Collins
  44. Jacob B. Conrad
  45. Amy L. Correa
  46. Nicholas F. Cosenza
  47. Edward M. Costa
  48. Robert C. Costolo
  49. Alexander J. Cropley
  50. Brendan J. Crowley
  51. Charles M. Cummings Iii
  52. Mark R. Currier
  53. Katelyn M. Dacimo
  54. Geoffrey M. Daly
  55. Justin S. Daniel
  56. Michael R. Davis
  57. Brandon M. Decardenas
  58. Jesse M. Deery
  59. Joseph C. Dellarosa
  60. Tyler J. Dewechter
  61. Carlos J. Diazcolon
  62. Erich D. Dix
  63. Holly N. Dix
  64. Philip W. Dodson
  65. Matthew D. Doepking
  66. Logan B. Donahey
  67. Steven W. Dross
  68. Brendan W. Dunn
  69. Jonathan R. Egezeino
  70. Nicole C. Emmons
  71. Audrey A. Ested
  72. Matthew J. Faha
  73. Lisa M. Fanning
  74. Amanda K. Faulkner
  75. Brittany R. Fifer
  76. Jeremy B. Fisher
  77. John W. Flach
  78. Max E. Franco
  79. Jamie K. Frost
  80. Mark A. Funke
  81. Jacob S. Gamble
  82. Matthew G. Gann
  83. Paul A. Garcia Ii
  84. Amanda M. Garcia
  85. Thomas M. Garcia
  86. Lauren N. Garofalo
  87. Kimberly M. Gates
  88. Brett J. Gayman
  89. Cortland A. Gazda
  90. Eric R. Gerken
  91. Nicholas L. Giancola
  92. Cathleen A. Giguere
  93. Hayley B. Gipson
  94. Jonathan R. Girot
  95. Kimberly A. Glore
  96. Brett R. Godiksen
  97. Lauren P. Gonzales
  98. Michael J. Gonzales
  99. Richard J. Gonzalez
  100. Brian E. Gracey
  101. Dana W. Grady
  102. Shaun C. Grant
  103. Glenn N. Gray
  104. George T. Greendyk
  105. Jamie Z. Greendyk
  106. Michael L. Griffin
  107. Adam C. Guarno
  108. Yusen Guo
  109. Peter D. Harrington
  110. Seth I. Harris
  111. Jeff D. Hartman
  112. Margaret A. Harward
  113. Eric R. Hatfield
  114. William J. Hawn
  115. Jason S. Haynes
  116. Katie M. Heckman
  117. Lloyd W. Heflin
  118. Nabil J. Hemmati
  119. Jeffrey C. Henkel
  120. Orlando Hernandez Jr
  121. Nicholas A. Hernandorena
  122. Joshua A. Herrador
  123. Nathaniel R. Herring
  124. Amy N. Hockenberry
  125. Micah D. Howell
  126. Kent A. Hunt
  127. James M. Hurtt
  128. Samuel R. Ingham
  129. David J. Irving
  130. Jessica Jacobsen Dobry
  131. Randi J. Jimenez
  132. Alex D. Johns
  133. Janique M. Jones
  134. Alicen M. Jordan
  135. Edward P. Kalankiewicz
  136. Thomas J. Kane
  137. Derek M. Kelley
  138. Jonathan W. Kelly
  139. Peter J. Kelly
  140. Justin R. Kimrey
  141. Ian D. King
  142. Michael G. Klakring
  143. Daniel A. Knauss
  144. Matthew E. Kolb
  145. Daniel J. H. Kubasch
  146. Robert J. Lapolt
  147. Jason F. Lassiter
  148. Mitchell A. Latta
  149. Michael A. Leath
  150. Mateusz J. Lemanski
  151. Carey B. Lewis
  152. Michael B. Lewis
  153. Robert E. Litts
  154. Lisa Liu
  155. Alexander R. Lloyd
  156. Ray J. Lopez
  157. Clinton J. Loughner
  158. Carolyn S. Mahoney
  159. Anders H. Manley
  160. Elizabeth J. Marshall
  161. Alex C. Martfeld
  162. Christopher J. Martin
  163. Nicholas H. Martin
  164. Juan C. Martinez
  165. Matthew M. Mayer
  166. Trevor S. Mays
  167. Kieron D. Mccarthy
  168. Myles W. Mccarthy
  169. Daniel L. Miller
  170. Kenneth L. Miltenberger
  171. Jeremiah W. Mims
  172. Jeffrey M. Mistrick
  173. Gregory R. Mitchell
  174. Joshua H. Mitcheltree
  175. Christopher M. Monacelli
  176. Michelle J. Moravek
  177. Margaret A. Morgan
  178. Brett A. Morris
  179. Evin D. Moses
  180. Alexandra C. Mostrom
  181. Brian C. Muldoon
  182. Kyle A. Murphy
  183. Sean P. Newmeyer
  184. Erin A. Nolan
  185. Matthew T. Odom
  186. Erik W. Oredson
  187. Juan R. Oropeza
  188. Jordan A. Ortiz
  189. Jarrod A. Owens
  190. John D. Packard
  191. Bradley J. Parker
  192. Justin A. Parker
  193. Susan E. Parrish
  194. Nicholas O. Peters
  195. Adam H. Petersen
  196. James D. Phillips Jr
  197. Daniel J. Piazza
  198. William B. Pie
  199. Terry R. Plank
  200. Nicholas D. Poehler
  201. Rachel E. Post
  202. Cory D. Pray
  203. Tara C. Pray
  204. Rebecca F. Prendergast
  205. Andrea B. Prosser
  206. Rachel M. Quatroche
  207. Nathan E. Quellhorst
  208. Devin W. Quinn
  209. Kevin L. Ralson
  210. Todd A. Ray
  211. Rebecca A. Rebar
  212. Shannon P. Reck
  213. David W. Rehfuss
  214. Reginald W. W. Reynolds Iii
  215. Denys Rivas
  216. Leah C. Roach
  217. Amanda M. Robinson
  218. Samuel Rodriguez-Gonzalez
  219. Christine P. Roselli
  220. Steven D. Roth
  221. Ronaqua A. Russell
  222. Andrew J. Russo Iii
  223. Michael N. Salerno
  224. Colin P. Schembri
  225. Sarah E. Schmid
  226. David M. Schneider
  227. Colin O. Schuster
  228. Joshua P. Scritchfield
  229. Rebekah A. Seifer
  230. Christopher M. Sena
  231. Jessica L. Shafer
  232. Brian J. Shields
  233. Christen C. K. Shih
  234. Ian M. Sibberson
  235. Julia A. Sieczkowski
  236. Silvia P. Sigler
  237. Justin C. Sikora
  238. Connor B. Simpson
  239. Andrew B. Sinclair
  240. Trevor L. Siperek
  241. Stacy L. Smith
  242. Elron P. Solis
  243. Drew Sonetirot
  244. Patrick R. Spencer
  245. Timothy W. Sperry
  246. Stephen N. Spotts
  247. Sean E. Stadig
  248. David J. Steele
  249. Elizabeth M. Stevens
  250. Alexander P. C. Stewart
  251. Sean P. Stewart
  252. Dave D. Stiles
  253. John S. Stockton Jr
  254. Justin Z. Strassfield
  255. Preston T. Strobel
  256. Matthew K. Stroebel
  257. Joseph N. Sullivanspringhetti
  258. Shelby V. Suminski
  259. Ashley C. Swager
  260. Logan M. Swan
  261. Elizabeth M. Tatum
  262. Brandon M. Taylor
  263. Rachel E. Thomas
  264. Kristopher M. Thornburg
  265. Sarah V. Troch
  266. Jacob A. Tronaas
  267. Collin E. Tuttle
  268. Edwin Valentin
  269. Lamarcus D. Walker
  270. Katherine E. Ward
  271. Milo J. Warner
  272. Hunter C. Warren
  273. Erin K. Warwick
  274. Joanne A. Warzynski
  275. Patrick C. Weaver
  276. Katherine E. Webb
  277. Wryan C. Webb
  278. Alex R. Webber
  279. Ryan T. Webster
  280. Hillary S. Weise
  281. Nathaniel D. White
  282. Matthew D. Whitney
  283. Brian D. Williams
  284. Kathryn C. Williams
  285. William L. L. Williams
  286. Benjamin S. Williamsz
  287. Darrina R. Willis
  288. Brandon J. Wilson
  289. Joshua C. Wofford
  290. Bohdon M. Wowtschuk
  291. Emily M. Young
  292. Nicholas S. Zablotny
  293. Tiffany M. Zehnle 

PN1294 – To earn the rank of Commander

  1. Mark P. Aguilar
  2. Brian J. Ahearn Jr
  3. Paul R. Alexander
  4. Christopher A. Aument
  5. Juan C. Avila
  6. Howard B. Baker Jr
  7. Charles J. Bare
  8. Dustin G. Barker
  9. Simon P. Barr
  10. Greg M. Batchelder
  11. Todd C. Batten
  12. James C. Bennett
  13. Jason L. Berger
  14. Orion R. Bloom
  15. Jordan T. Boghosian
  16. Christopher A. Bonner
  17. Stephen W. Brickey
  18. Dominic N. Bucciarelli
  19. William J. Burwell
  20. Regina R. Caffrey
  21. Nolan V. Cain
  22. Raymond Caro
  23. Jason R. Carrillo
  24. Daniel B. Cathell
  25. Michael J. Cavanagh
  26. James E. Cepa
  27. Kyra M. Chin-Dykeman
  28. Erin H. Chlum
  29. Megan K. Clifford
  30. Joseph R. Coffman
  31. Roberto C. Concepcion
  32. Chad M. Conrad
  33. Rebecca M. Corson
  34. Nolan J. Cuevas
  35. Lane P. Cutler
  36. Steven T. Davies
  37. Michael A. Deal
  38. Daniel J. Deangelo
  39. Andrew B. Dennelly
  40. Megan A. Dennelly
  41. Amanda W. Denning
  42. Amanda M. Dipietro
  43. Timothy W. Dolan
  44. Andrew S. Dunlevy
  45. Ronald Easley
  46. Erica L. Elfguinn
  47. Jared W. England
  48. Kyle L. Ensley
  49. Daniel J. Every
  50. Amanda L. Fahrig
  51. Elisa K. Fawcett
  52. Diana Ferguson
  53. Traci-Ann Fiammetta Alvarez
  54. Rebecca A. Fosha
  55. Travis R. Gagnon
  56. Nicholas A. Galati
  57. Micah N. Gentile
  58. Brian C. Gismervik
  59. Eliezer Gonzalez
  60. Andrew M. Grantham
  61. Sean T. Groark
  62. Anthony J. Guido
  63. Matthew C. Haddad
  64. Eric C. Hanson
  65. Kevan P. Hanson
  66. Joshua B. Harrington
  67. Stephen A. Hart
  68. Jason L. Hathaway
  69. Preston J. Hieb
  70. Jerod M. Hitzel
  71. Stefanie J. Hodgdon
  72. Thomas E. Hollinberger
  73. Jared H. Hood
  74. Jesse L. Houck
  75. Raymond M. Jamros
  76. Andrew B. Jantzen
  77. Christina M. Jones
  78. Dan N. Kahn
  79. Caroline D. Kearney
  80. Gary G. Kim
  81. Gretal G. Kinney
  82. Jay F. Kircher
  83. Kevin K. Koski
  84. Matthew M. Kroll
  85. Walter C. Krolman
  86. Brownie J. Kuk
  87. Karen L. Kutkiewicz
  88. Celina H. Ladyga
  89. Jonathan W. Ladyga
  90. Graham E. Lanz
  91. Jonathan M. Laraia
  92. Kevin B. Laubenheimer
  93. Daniel W. Lavinder
  94. Morgan R. Law
  95. Paul M. Leon
  96. Benjamin S. Leuthold
  97. Aaron B. Leyko
  98. Jacob S. London
  99. Eric R. Majeska
  100. Peter E. Maloney
  101. Sawyer M. Mann
  102. Michael H. Manuel
  103. Simone B. Mausz
  104. Benjamin D. Mazyck
  105. Christopher N. Mcandrew
  106. Scott A. Mcbride
  107. Jayna G. Mccarron
  108. Cory J. Mccollow
  109. Scott H. Mcgrew
  110. Patrick M. Mcmahon
  111. John M. Mcwilliams
  112. Michael S. Miller
  113. Caitlin H. Mitchell Wurster
  114. Christopher G. Morris
  115. Karl H. Mueller
  116. Elizabeth G. Nakagawa
  117. Jason A. Neiman
  118. Christopher M. Nichols
  119. Richard D. Nines
  120. Jeffrey T. Noyes
  121. Grace E. Oh
  122. Teresa Z. Ohley
  123. Benjamin K. Oloughlin
  124. Jeyar L. Pierce
  125. Joseph P. Plunkett
  126. Andrew D. Pritchett
  127. Fredrick D. Pugh
  128. Eric A. Quigley
  129. Ryan R. Ramos
  130. Peter J. Raneri
  131. Frank M. Reed Iii
  132. Sheral A. Richardson
  133. Callan D. Robbins
  134. Jason W. Roberts
  135. Michael C. Ross
  136. Joshua H. Sagers
  137. Garrett B. Santos
  138. Amanda G. Sardone
  139. Nathaniel F. Sargent
  140. Brian G. Sattler
  141. Kenneth R. Sauerbrunn
  142. James J. Schock
  143. Daniel A. Schrader
  144. John Sgarlata Jr
  145. Saladin Shelton
  146. Stephen M. Simpson
  147. Norma L. Smihal
  148. David A. Smith
  149. Joseph L. Smith
  150. Josh L. Smith
  151. Lauren E. Smoak
  152. Jeff J. Smolik
  153. Jason R. Stanko
  154. Ian M. Starr
  155. Paul W. Stepler
  156. George R. Suchanek
  157. John P. Suckow
  158. Kathleen M. Sullivan
  159. Amy K. Sung
  160. Daniel L. Tavernier
  161. Stephanie K. Thomas
  162. David C. Thompson
  163. Cynthia S. Travers
  164. Shaun T. Vaccaro
  165. Eduardo M. Valdez
  166. Matthew J. Vanginkel
  167. Michael A. Viles
  168. Steven M. Volk
  169. Ryan T. Waitt
  170. Jorell R. Webb
  171. Andrew S. Weiss
  172. Steven D. Welch
  173. Bruce D. Wells
  174. Jonathan D. White
  175. Paul A. Windt
  176. Francis E. S. Wolfe
  177. Jonathan M. Wolstenholme
  178. Michael A. Wurster
  179. Grant C. Wyman
  180. Victor M. Yaguchi
  181. Jeremy L. Yandell
  182. Miles K. Young
  183. Matthew W. Zinn

  

Senator Cantwell Delivers Opening Statements at Commerce Committee Executive Session and Nominations Hearing

December 1, 2021

***VIDEO***

 

Senator Cantwell Delivers Opening Statements at Commerce Committee Executive Session and Nominations Hearing

 

 

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, Chair of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation delivered the following opening statements during today’s Executive Session and Nominations Hearing

 

Executive Session Opening Statement

Nominations:  Jessica Rosenworcel, to be a Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission; Jainey Kumar Bavishi, to be Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere; Arun Venkataraman, to be Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Director General of the United States and Foreign Commercial Service; Alvaro Bedoya to be a Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission; Coast Guard promotions

 

“Good morning. The Commerce Committee will come to order. This morning we have an executive session to vote on several nominations, followed by a hearing. After the executive session, the hearing will be to consider four individuals to fill roles at the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Commerce. During the executive session, we'll be voting on nominees who will fill key positions at the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Commerce, as well as several Coast Guard promotions.

 

“Both the FCC and the FTC have responsibility to expand conductivity and to promote the protection of consumers online. This morning, we'll be voting on the nomination of Jessica Rosenworcel to be the Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission. If confirmed, Chairwoman Rosenworcel will continue to lead the agency's important work to ensure that every American has access to reliable, affordable broadband. Having strong leadership at the helm of the FCC to implement our broadband investments cannot be more important and I look forward to her confirmation this morning.

 

“Next, we have Alvaro Bedoya, who has been nominated to be a commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC is responsible for protecting consumers from unfair and deceptive practices, especially online, and for enforcing the nation's antitrust laws. Mr. Bedoya has the experience and expertise in privacy that the Commission needs at this critical moment. He has bipartisan support from all the sitting commissioners and the chair of the FTC, and has experience working across the aisle. Mr. Bedoya also has the support of privacy and civil rights organizations, consumer groups, leading privacy academics, and former FTC officials. I look forward to working with him on the committee's important privacy agenda.

 

“We will also vote on the nomination of Jainey Bavishi to be the deputy NOAA Administrator. We need strategic leadership and help at NOAA to execute broad climate and coastal resiliency investments we outlined in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the bipartisan infrastructure bill, and we hope soon the Build Back Better program. Ms. Bavishi will be critical and helping with NOAA’s implementation.

 

“We will also be voting on Arun Venkataraman, who has been nominated to be Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Director General of the United States foreign and Commercial Service at the Department of Commerce. If confirmed to play a key role in helping small and medium sized enterprises enter and compete in foreign markets. This is very important for our economy and for small businesses who need to have increased help and access to foreign markets to thrive.

 

“Finally, we'll be voting on several coastguard promotions.”

 

Nominations Hearing Opening Statement

 

Nominations: Gigi B. Sohn, to be a Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission;. Alan Davidson, to be Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information; Viquar Ahmad, to be Assistant Secretary for Administration and Chief Financial Officer of the Department of Commerce; Jed David Kolko, to be Under Secretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs

 

 

“So, we'll now turn to our hearing. I again thank our colleagues for their attendance today. Thank you for helping us get these important nominations filled, and we look forward to working with all of them. So now we will turn to our hearing this morning. Our hearing is a very important set of nominees and so I want to welcome them and their families to the dais. Thank you so much for being here.

 

“First, we will consider the nomination of Gigi Sohn to be commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission. Ms. Sohn, welcome to you and your family, who I understand is joining you today.

 

“The pandemic demonstrates how essential broadband is to participate in our 21st century economy and the FCC is critical role in helping our country be competitive. If confirmed, Ms. Sohn will help lead the FCC’s effort to address the lack of broadband connectivity in our country due to gaps in broadband infrastructure, and the lack of affordable services. As Commissioner, she'll also be responsible for supporting the diversity and health of local broadcasters so they continue to reflect the interests of local communities, and I look forward to hearing how she intends to support broadcasters in their continued important role if confirmed. She's also responsible for coordinating with NTIA on federal Spectrum sharing policies to protect incumbent users and promote innovation. And she has a decade long of experience as advocating on important telecommunications policy. She was co-founder of Public Knowledge before becoming a Senior Advisor to Chairman Wheeler of the FCC, and she's currently a distinguished fellow at Georgetown Institute for Technology Law and Policy, senior fellow and public advocate at the Benton Institute. If confirmed, she will also be the first openly LGBTQ+ commissioner in the history of the FCC.

 

“We will also consider the nomination of Alan Davidson - thank you for being here -- to be Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information at the Department of Commerce. Today, it is important more than ever to have a critically strong role at NTIA as the agency leads the largest broadband investment in our nation's history to finally bridge the digital divide. Both my colleagues Senator Wicker and Senator Klobuchar have worked tirelessly as on legislation to try to enhance the role of this at NTIA, so we look forward to having a robust discussion about what leadership role NTIA can play on broadband. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will ask NTIA to increase and implement programs set at historic levels. So I look forward to asking NTIA, Mr. Davidson, about those efforts and what we can do particularly on the issues of digital divide and cost.

 

“With the vote of Chair Rosenworcel and Mr. Bedoya this morning, today's hearing with Ms. Sohn and Mr. Davidson, we're getting closer to providing these agencies with the key tools that they need to do their job.

 

“Next, we will consider the nomination of David Kolko to be Undersecretary of Economic Affairs at the Department of Commerce. Welcome to you. The Undersecretary for Economic Affairs is responsible for providing economic analysis, disseminating national economic indicators, serving as the administrator of the department's premier statistical programs, including the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Census Bureau. These bureaus and others in the department provide important critical data to our nation, to our agencies and to private sector entities….everything from science, climate, weather and economic indicators, including trade and telecommunications.

 

“Mr. Kolko has been Chief Economist at Indeed since 2016, and before that was Chief Economist and VP of Analytics at Trulia. So he brings private sector experience as well. He's also had numerous research positions where his work has focused on ways to incorporate proprietary and public data into research that is accessible and actionable for a wide range of audiences. To help our economy thrive, the department needs leaders who will set high standards not only for data integrity, but for accessibility as well. Policy makers and business entities should be able to easily access the data develop[ed by] the Department of Economic Analysis and the Census Bureau to make good policy and business decisions. So I look forward to asking you about that at the hearing.

 

“And finally, we will consider Mr. Viquar Ahmad to be Assistant Secretary for Administration and Chief Financial Officer for the Department of Commerce. Welcome to you Mr. Ahmad. The Assistant Secretary for Administration and Chief Financial Officer serves the department's financial resources and human resources and facilities. It's a critical role on the annual budget, managing the billions of dollars allocated through the infrastructure and jobs act as an example. So you are extremely qualified, I believe, for this role - multiple leadership roles in the US government over the past decade, including managing and overseeing the $70 billion budget for the Department of Homeland Security and its component agencies, and [you] currently serve as the Deputy Chief Financial Officer for the U.S. House of Representatives. So I look forward to your confirmation. So thank you all, for being here and your willingness to serve.”

 

###

Chair Cantwell Calls on CPSC to Improve its Hazardous Toy Recall System as Holiday Shopping Heats Up

November 30, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, Chair of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation today called on the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to take steps necessary to improve its ineffective product recall system, which leaves potentially dangerous toys and defective consumer products in circulation. The CPSC has reported that, on average, consumers participate in recall actions at a rate of only roughly 6 percent for all product types.

 

“I am deeply concerned about how well our current system protects consumers, particularly children, from unsafe products,” said Sen. Cantwell during a subcommittee hearing today on addressing product safety concerns that often arise around the holidays. “We need to do better. Too often product recalls are not effective at getting dangerous products out of circulation.”

 

In a letter to CPSC Chair Alexander Hoehn-Saric, Sen. Cantwell asked the Commission to provide information and data on its process to ensure the CPSC “has the tools, resources, and data it needs to protect Americans, particularly families with young children.”

 

“If we hope to increase the return rate of consumer product recalls and improve recall efficacy, we need strong, enforceable agreements setting out the details of the recall; better incentives for manufacturers, retailers, and consumers to participate in recalls; and more data and improved means of tracking recall efficacy,” the Senator wrote. 

 

The letter is below and here.

 

November 30, 2021

 

Honorable Alexander Hoehn-Saric, Chair

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

4330 East-West Hwy

Bethesda, MD 20814

 

Dear Chair Hoehn-Saric,

 

I am writing to express my concern about the dangers of recalled, counterfeit, and otherwise unsafe consumer goods in homes, and to ascertain whether the Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) has the tools, resources, and data it needs to protect Americans, particularly families with young children.

 

While the holidays are a time of celebration, we know they can quickly turn tragic when children are hurt by unsafe consumer goods, toys, or household decorations.  These accidents are all the more senseless when they involve products that have been subject to a recall. 

 

I am deeply troubled by the very low efficacy of product safety recalls and by the fact that an unknown number of toys and consumer goods remain in circulation in spite of having been recalled.  It is well known that recalls are far from completely effective, but the true scope of the problem remains unknown, especially as many consumers turn to platforms like Facebook Marketplace, eBay, and Craigslist to resell or upcycle used goods and find items at a discount.  At the CPSC’s recall efficacy workshop in 2017, the agency reported that, on average, consumers participate in corrective actions at a rate of only roughly 6 percent for all product types—consumer participation in corrective actions is approximately 4 percent for products that retail for less than $20, and still only roughly 32 percent for products with a retail price of $10,000 or higher.[1] 

 

In a November 2020 report aimed at addressing these challenges, the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) recommended changes to improve CPSC processes for prioritizing resources, overseeing firms’ compliance, measuring recall effectiveness, and managing the timeliness of product defect cases.[2]  According to the GAO, the CPSC generally agreed with the report’s findings and supported the accompanying recommendations.[3]  At this time, the status of the CPSC’s response to the GAO recommendations remains “open,” meaning the agency has yet to fully satisfy the intent of the recommendation.[4]

 

If we hope to increase the return rate of consumer product recalls and improve recall efficacy, we need strong, enforceable agreements setting out the details of the recall; better incentives for manufacturers, retailers, and consumers to participate in recalls; and more data and improved means of tracking recall efficacy. 

 

To that end, I request your response to the following questions.

 

1)    In the 2019, 2020, and 2021 calendar years, respectively, please identify the children’s products (e.g., toys, bassinets, playpens, etc.) reported to the CPSC that required corrective action.  For each product, please list:

  1. The number of items recalled;
  2. The number of deaths reported and the number of injuries reported;
  3. The details of the corrective actions, including:

                                          i.    The type of remedy included in the corrective actions—whether replacement (of the same or another product), repair, full refund, and/or partial refund.

                                        ii.    The outreach plan—specifically, (I) what type and form of outreach was required from the recalling firm; (II) whether the corrective action required a dedicated webpage explaining how to participate in the recall; (III) whether the corrective action required use of social media; and (IV) whether the corrective action required a firm to contact customers who purchased the recalled product.

                                       iii.    Efficacy check—whether the corrective action included a specific response or return rate before reevaluating the corrective action or closing the recall.

  1. The number of recall effectiveness checks conducted;
  2. Whether the firm met each of its monthly progress report requirements; and
  3. An estimation of the number of products that were not remedied and may still be in homes.

 

2)    For each of the products above, does the CPSC believe the recall was effective?  Why or why not?

 

3)    What information are firms required to provide the CPSC by statute or regulation pursuant to a voluntary corrective action and what penalties do firms face, if they fail to comply with voluntary corrective action plans?

 

4)    What steps is the CPSC taking to safeguard the public from the products above that have not been remedied and may still be in homes or in circulation?

 

5)    How should manufacturers and retailers—both online and brick-and-mortar businesses—leverage modern technology and information they acquire in the course of business to contact consumers of recalled products?

 

6)    What potential incentives or penalties for private actors, or authorities for the CPSC, should Congress consider to improve the recall process?

 

7)    Which of the GAO’s November 2020 report recommendations, including diversifying recall effectiveness metrics, does the CPSC intend to adopt?  For those recommendations, when does the CPSC expect to complete the recommended policy change?

 

Please provide your written response to the Committee no later than Monday, December 20, 2021.

 

[1] Transcript: “Recall Effectiveness Workshop (Early Session),” United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, July 25, 2017, available at https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/Recall_Effectiveness_Workshop-Transcripts-2018.pdf?DANfPWVdXLz6jk.lAn9rzT3dX6ZQXQa0, pg. 39-41.

[2] GAO-21-56 Report, “Consumer Product Safety Commission: Actions Needed to Improve Processes for Addressing Product Defect Cases,” U.S. Government Accountability Office, November 19, 2020, available at https://www.gao.gov/assets/gao-21-56.pdf.

[3] “Consumer Product Safety Commission: Actions Needed to Improve Processes for Addressing Product Defect Cases,” U.S. Government Accountability Office, November 19, 2020, available at https://www.gao.gov/products/gao-21-56.

[4] Ibid., see ‘status.’

###

Following Russian Anti-Satellite Test, Commerce Committee Urges Administration Action on Protecting Space Environment

November 30, 2021

Senators: “While the Russian actions are disturbing, they are a reminder of the need for U.S. leadership on [space situational awareness] and [space traffic management] and provide an opportunity to disseminate lessons learned that will protect U.S assets and                 personnel in the future.

Urge Vice President to make protecting space a focus of Wed. National Space Council meeting

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Chair of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Ranking Member Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS), Space and Science Subcommittee Chair Senator John Hickenlooper (D-CO) and Ranking Member Senator Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), today sent letters to Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and to Vice President Kamala Harris urging action to protect the space environment. The letters follow the destruction of an orbiting satellite by a Russian anti-satellite weapon that created more than 1,500 pieces of space debris, risking damage to U.S. civil, commercial, and national security satellites and threatened personnel on the International Space Station (ISS).

In a letter to Secretary Raimondo, the Senators urged the Commerce Department to appoint a Director and boost the technical capabilities of the Office of Space Commerce (OSC) which is charged with creating a space traffic management pilot program and a repository with information on space objects, including debris. 

“OSC capabilities will support the nation’s ability to manage the emergence of new debris fields, such as the debris field created by the Russian test,” they wrote. “Further, these capabilities will help the nation understand and respond to unforeseen disasters in space and play a critical role in protecting U.S. property and personnel.”

In a separate letter, the Senators urged Vice President Harris to discuss the issue of protecting the space environment during Wednesday’s meeting of the National Space Council, which she chairs. 

The space domain is essential for the United States’ modern economy. From fostering scientific discovery and planetary exploration to facilitating next-generation communications and the Global Positioning System (GPS), these scientific, technological, and national security benefits must be protected,” the Senators wrote. “We request that you advocate for aligning space sustainability priorities and activities across the Federal Government and work to develop international dialogue on norms of responsible behavior in space.”

 

The Senators and the Committee addressed protecting the space environment during hearings in July and October. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), both under the Committee’s purview, operate a fleet of Earth-observing satellites that provide crucial information on weather and climate. These satellites enable the nation’s weather forecasting capabilities and support our understanding of climate change. NASA also operates the ISS, an orbiting research laboratory. Astronauts on board ISS, including Washington native Kayla Barron, were required to shelter in their crew return vehicles following the Russian anti-satellite test. The Senate passed, as part of the United States Innovation and Competition Act, the Space Preservation and Conjunction Emergency Act of 2021 (SPACE Act) in June 2021. Originally reported out of the Commerce Committee in November 2020, the SPACE Act would direct OSC to improve the collection, processing, and dissemination of space situational awareness (SSA) data and authorize $20 million in grants for SSA centers of excellence.

 

###

Commerce Committee Approves Three Bills and Three Nominations

November 17, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation approved three bills, three Biden Administration nominations, and three Coast Guard officer promotions during today’s Executive Session. All are subject to approval by the full Senate.

Below is the full list of the legislation and nominees advanced out of committee:

  1. S.594 Anti-Spoofing Penalties Modernization Act of 2021
  2. S.1127 Learning Excellence and Good Examples from New Developers (LEGEND) Act of 2021
  3. S.2699 The American Cybersecurity Literacy Act
  4. Nomination of Laurie E. Locascio, to be Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology (PN909)
  5. Nomination of Christopher A. Coes, to be Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy (PN405)
  6. Nomination of Max Vekich, to be a Commissioner of the Federal Maritime Commission (PN748)
  7. Coast Guard Promotions (PN1350)
    • The following Coast Guard Officers to earn the rank of Captain
      • Monique M. Roebuck
      • Susana E. Lee
      • Russell D. Mayer

 

 

###

 

 

Committee Chair Cantwell to FAA Administrator: “I'm a firm believer that engineers on the ground know their job. What's not clear to me is whether people are listening to them, and whether the FAA has their back”

November 3, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, Chair of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation delivered the following opening statement at today’s oversight hearing with Federal Aviation Administrator Steve Dickson:

 “We're having a hearing today on the implementation of our new aviation reform law, and want to welcome the Honorable Steve Dickson, Administrator for the Federal Aviation Administration for joining us today.

 

CLICK HERE TO WATCH

 “I also want to take a moment to recognize the families who have lost loved ones who are with us today. Thank you so much for being here and for your continued oversight on this issue. I can't imagine the pain and suffering of your loss and the pain that you are still feeling. But I certainly want you to know we appreciate your vigilance on aviation safety reform. You have shaped the safety work of this committee. And with your support and critical input, the committee played a leading role in drafting the Aircraft Certification, Safety, and Accountability Act.

 “This important legislation, enacted into law almost a year ago, I believe, provided a big down payment on the direction that we need to go to implement safety reforms in the United States, and to make us the gold standard around the world. That is why we're here today to have this hearing. To determine whether the Federal Aviation Administration, has faithfully and vigorously executed the safety reform law in accordance with congressional mandates for deadlines and action.

 “I will be upfront with you, Mr. Administrator, the purpose of this hearing: it is to find out whether you are upholding the spirit and the letter of this law. While not the only thing we need to do, the law that we implemented was a clear course correction. It said that we needed to have stronger FAA oversight, the people in place to do that job, and to hold manufacturers accountable. Directing the FAA, and making sure that that job is done, is critical.

 “While I know your communication to the committee, your written testimony, talks about a lot of the actions and requirements that were in the law, we also know that there is more to be done.

 “I want to say that I'm very appreciative of Ian Won at the Boeing Aviation Oversight Office, who, on May 13th, issued a letter basically slowing down the 777x so that more information could be provided, needed to be provided, for the oversight of that plane. I'm a firm believer that engineers on the ground know their job. What's not clear to me is whether people are listening to them, and whether the FAA has their back.

“I also want to enter into the record, an August 19th letter from Mr. Won, also talking about the changes to the Boeing BASOO office and things that needed to be done to make sure that they continue to have the oversights and objectives. He's been clear, we need more resources. He's been clear, we need the right people to do this job. So we need the FAA, as I said, to be that gold standard.

“When a Special Committee Review of Aviation Certification Process, the SCACP, came back with a whitewash of what we needed to do, I was disappointed that you did not take more critique with that. In fact, basically, you testified before Congress, ‘basically, the system is not broken.’ Well, there were parts that were broken, and they need to be fixed.

 “So I look forward to your testimony. But reading it, I see more of the same. Now is not a time to mince words, now is the time to provide the leadership that it takes to get the staffing, the oversight, and the direction that is required of an oversight agency to hold manufacturers accountable.

 “Make no mistake, the manufacturer has its own responsibilities here. And we will also hold them accountable. We believe there's more to be done on certification, more to be done on the oversight and certification process, so that we are not just creating checkmarks on a list that now we can say ‘the list has its checkmarks.’ That is where we were with the MCAS system. In the end, it was the tragedy that we all know too well and are still living with.

 “So I'm very challenged by your testimony. We don't believe the FAA is prepared on January 1 of 2022 to restore direct supervision and control over those manufacturing engineers and delegated authority because they that process should have started sooner, because it is a big oversight responsibility. I will have questions for you in the Q and A about that, and the type of personnel that we need in all of these jobs.

 “We don't believe the FAA has conducted the necessary workforce review for determining the staffing and experience of those levels. And the FAA has not taken steps necessary to limit the delegation of certification tax to industry until the FAA is verified all human factor assumptions.

 “Restating the law’s requirement in a two page memo is not what it takes to get that implemented. It might be a basic start, but where is proof of the implementation? This this level of reform is needed immediately. And the FAA has not fully implemented new requirements for applicants to disclose safety critical information —like information related to flight control systems—so that the FAA can be aware and fully assess the impact of those proposed design changes and innovation technologies.

 “Again, this went into the US Code and was effective immediately, but the FAA expects to issue guidance in 2022. We don't have time to wait. We need that kind of oversight today. And the FAA has yet to complete the work of the Independent Expert Panel, which was supposed to be convened 30 days from enactment to provide timely advice on whether the FAA should formally rein in Boeing's ODA authority.

 “I also would like to enter into the record a letter from the families who are actually calling for a pulling of that authority. I understand that there is a panel that is meeting now, but the process and procedures in place to review their actions and have it be transparent is critically important if we are going to get this right.

 “So all of these safety issues are critical to all of us in America. It's critical to our families who fly on planes, it’s critical to our economy. We need the leadership of the FAA, not just before our hearing today. The complexity that got us to this situation is a lot of complexity of language. In reality, it has to be leadership of FAA in implementing the law.”

 

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Sen. Cantwell Statement on FCC, NTIA Nominations

October 26, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, Chair of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation released the following statement regarding President Biden’s intention to nominate Jessica Rosenworcel to be Commissioner and Chair of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC); Gigi Sohn to be Commissioner of the FCC; and Alan Davidson to be Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA): 

 “Today’s announcement by the White House of its slate of nominees for the Federal Communications Commission and National Telecommunications and Information Administration comes at just the right time, with more work to do to improve our broadband deployment, spectrum management, and consumer protections. I am glad to see Jessica Rosenworcel nominated to be the Chair of the FCC, and I look forward to swiftly considering these nominations before the end of the year.”

Cantwell Underscores Urgency to Pass NASA Authorization Bill

October 22, 2021

VIDEO

“We can't do an adequate oversight job if we don't have an authorization bill.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – During a hearing in the Commerce Subcommittee on Space and Science yesterday, Sen. Maria Cantwell underscored the urgent need for Congress to pass long-lasting, bipartisan NASA authorization legislation. NASA was last authorized by Congress in 2017. The Senate passed an updated authorization as part of the United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA) in June 2021. 

“We can't do an adequate oversight job if we don't have an authorization bill,” Sen. Cantwell stated. “I believe in NASA's innovation and technology. I want them to apply the same spirit they had in fixing the problems on the Apollo project to fixing and getting this authorization done. We're not going to continue to have this game where you just get appropriations. It is not going to serve the Artemis program or NASA well. [I]t's frustrating to me to see the spirit of NASA turned into you know, the cheering of billionaires or competition with each other. Because I'm pretty sure that that's not what our mission of Artemis is about.”

“Look, we've seen where the same mistake was made by the FAA and deferring too much to aviation manufacturers when it came to the oversight,” she continued. “I want a very strong NASA oversight of these companies. Very strong. I'm not supportive of NASA stepping away and turning it over to the commercial side. …I think it's just imperative that we get an authorization bill…”

The subcommittee heard from former NASA leaders and experts who echoed the senator’s urgency for Congress to speak with one voice and set clear objectives.

“Because without that, it's very difficult to even be able to begin to do oversight, because you [don’t] know what objectives you're trying to meet,” said Dr. Mary Lynne Dittmar, Executive Vice President for Government Affairs at Axiom Space.

Mike Gold, the former NASA Associate Administrator for Space Policy and Partnerships argued that an “authorization bill is vital to send messages to our partners and rival nations for the unity purpose of Congress.”

“But for NASA to have continuity of purpose over time, requires an apolitical bipartisan consensus on how we're moving forward,” added former NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “And if we can put that in an authorization bill, it sends a signal to everybody globally that we have resolved to accomplish these objectives.”

Click here for full transcript.

 

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Commerce Committee Approves Biden Transportation Nominations

October 20, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation today approved five Biden Administration nominations and 70 Coast Guard officer promotions during today’s Executive Session.  All are subject to approval by the full Senate.

 

The Committee approved the following nominations:

 

  • Amit Bose to be Administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration (PN435)
  • Meera Joshi to be Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (PN362)
  • Victoria Wassmer to be Chief Financial Officer for the Department of Transportation (PN264)
  • Mohsin Syed to be Assistant Secretary for Government Affairs at the Department of Transportation (PN263)
  • Rear Admiral Nancy Hann to be Director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps, and Director of the Office of Marine and Aviation Operations (PN896)

 

The Committee approved the following Coast Guard officer promotions:

 

  • Rear Admiral James Kelly to be Director of the Coast Guard Reserve (PN1073)
  • Coast Guard Officers to earn the rank of Captain (PN1144): 
  1. Aleksak, Jason C.
  2. Aries, Melissa J.
  3. Behera, Jessica B.
  4. Behnke, Andrew J.
  5. Bender, Andrew R.
  6. Berry II, Robert J.
  7. Bertsch IV, Fred S.
  8. Breguet, Brian P.
  9. Brick, Chad R.
  10. Butwid, Jerry D.
  11. Casey, Paul R.
  12. Casper, Eric M.
  13. Chien, Michael P.C.
  14. Chong, Randall T.
  15. Dietrich, Joyce M.
  16. Dooris, Matthew D.
  17. Douglas, Christopher
  18. Ford, Zachary R.
  19. Garrity, Elisa M.
  20. Glass, Zachary N.
  21. Gomez, Robert H.
  22. Hall, Jeremy M.
  23. Helgen, Eric A.
  24. Hernaez, Dorothy J.
  25. Ingram, Jason D.
  26. Johnson, Eric D.
  27. Keene, Christopher M.
  28. Kirksey, Aja L.
  29. Lay, Mark L.
  30. Lewis, Rachel L.
  31. Lugo, Scott E.
  32. Matson, Ryan P.
  33. Matthies, Eric J.
  34. McCarter, Harold L.
  35. McNally, Brad M.
  36. McTamney IV, John M.P.
  37. Moon, Youngmee
  38. Neeland, Mark R.
  39. Noggle, Justin W.
  40. Obrien, Loan T.
  41. Oconnell, Anne E.
  42. O'Mara IV, James M.
  43. Omenhiser Jr., Roger E.
  44. Ortenzio, Aaron J.
  45. Parker, Joseph B.
  46. Payne, Jeffrey L.
  47. Pershing, James H.
  48. Pirone, Robert M.
  49. Pototschnik, Mark B.
  50. Rice, Lisa M.
  51. Rodriguez, Nicole D.
  52. Saunders, Kevin B.
  53. Schallip, Michele L.
  54. Sharp, Michael D.
  55. Smith, Jason S.
  56. Snaith, Joan
  57. Styron, Jessica R.
  58. Suffern, James B.
  59. Terkanian Jr., Donald M.
  60. Tharp, Emily L.
  61. Thorkilson, Kelly A.
  62. Townsend, Devin L.
  63. Trusz, Jared S.
  64. Tucker, Robert C.
  65. Vaughan, Nicolette A.
  66. Walker, William R.
  67. Winburn, William B.
  68. Wirth, Tracy L.
  69. Wright, Christopher L.

Cantwell Demands Accountability From USMMA, Coast Guard, DOT Leaders Following Sexual Assault Allegations

October 13, 2021

 

Cantwell Demands Accountability From USMMA, Coast Guard, DOT Leaders Following Sexual Assault Allegations

Cantwell: “How many reports of rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment or related offenses have been reported by or concerning midshipmen of the USMMA in the last 10 years?”

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation which oversees federal maritime agencies sent a letter to Acting Administrator of the Maritime Administration (MARAD) Lucinda Lessley demanding answers regarding allegations of rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment made by midshipmen at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) as well as the response from leaders at MARAD. Senator Cantwell sent a copy of the letter to the Coast Guard, which has primary jurisdiction for investigating these incidents on the high seas.

 

Many of the alleged incidents occurred during the midshipmen’s “Sea Year.” Sea Year is a required part of the USMMA’s undergraduate training, where sophomore and junior midshipmen spend part of their academic year at sea working on primarily private merchant marine vessels learning firsthand the skills of a merchant mariner.

 

“Through the Maritime Legal Aid & Advocacy (MLAA), a legal advocacy group formed on behalf of mariners, victims of shipboard sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape have bravely shared their personal stories in blog posts on the group’s website,” Senator Cantwell wrote to Lessley.

 

“The despicable accounts put forth by brave young women and men just starting promising careers in the maritime industry are frightening and unacceptable,” Cantwell continued. “Many of these allegations involve a repeated pattern of crimes and intimidations committed by people in positions of power and responsibility on merchant ships, and include alleged poor oversight or policy failures of USMMA officials and Coast Guard investigators.”

 

In the letter, Senator Cantwell demanded that Acting Administrator Lessley provide a detailed account of the steps taken to investigate and respond to the allegations, and called on the Acting Administrator to provide a full report on the number of reports of rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment or related offenses have been reported by or concerning midshipmen of the USMMA in the last 10 years.

 

More information about Maritime Legal Aid & Advocacy is available HERE.

 

The blog post by Acting Administrator Lessley and DOT Deputy Secretary Trottenburg is available HERE.

 

The full text of Senator Cantwell’s letter is available HERE and below.

 

October 12, 2021

 

Lucinda Lessley

Acting Administrator, Maritime Administration

1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE

Washington, DC 20590

Dear Acting Administrator Lessley:

I write to express my grave concern over the allegations of rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment made by midshipmen at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (“USMMA”) and the response by you and others at the Department of Transportation (“DOT”). Through the Maritime Legal Aid & Advocacy (“MLAA”), a legal advocacy group formed on behalf of mariners, victims of shipboard sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape have bravely shared their personal stories in blog posts on the group’s website. You and Deputy Secretary Trottenberg sent an open letter to the King’s Point community and posted it on the USMMA website on Saturday, October 2, 2021 acknowledging these allegations and expressing your unwavering support for the individual who shared her story on September 27. The despicable accounts put forth by brave young women and men just starting promising careers in the maritime industry are frightening and unacceptable. Many of these allegations involve a repeated pattern of crimes and intimidations committed by people in positions of power and responsibility on merchant ships, and include alleged poor oversight or policy failures of USMMA officials and Coast Guard investigators.

In light of the seriousness of these allegations, I ask that you provide the committee with a description of the steps that have been taken by Maritime Administration (“MARAD”), the DOT, and the USMMA to investigate the allegations made on the MLAA’s website, and actions taken in response to findings in those investigations. Additionally, I request the following information:

1. How many reports of rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment or related offenses have been reported by or concerning midshipmen of the USMMA in the last 10 years? Please provide a breakdown of these reports that includes whether the incidents occurred on campus, off campus, or at sea during Sea Year, the party that conducted the investigation(s), and the outcome of that investigation.

2. In the event that a midshipman is removed from a vessel following a sexual assault or harassment report(s), does USMMA remove all midshipmen onboard the vessel for their Sea Year? Please include copies of the USMMA policy, regulation or other guidance on this matter.

3. If a vessel or its parent company is the subject of a sexual assault or sexual harassment complaint, does the USMMA assign midshipmen to those vessels in the future? Please include copies of the USMMA policy, regulation or other guidance on this matter.

4. In the event that a midshipman makes an informal or formal complaint of sexual assault, harassment, or discrimination, may they request to be assigned to a different vessel for the duration of their Sea Year? Please include copies of the USMMA policy, regulation or other guidance on this matter.

5. What actions can be and have been taken by the Coast Guard to withdraw or suspend credentials of mariners with a history of allegations of sexual assault and harassment against Sea Year midshipmen?

The maritime industry and United States Merchant Marine are a vital part of our national security and our nation’s economy. Sexual harassment, sexual assault, and other offenses are unacceptable, and the USMMA must immediately take action to stop this behavior and protect the men and women of the USMMA both at the Academy, and at sea. To that end, I request responses to these questions no later than October 26, 2021. For any questions, you may contact majority staff lead on maritime policy, Nicole Teutschel at 202-224-0510 and majority chief investigative counsel, Caitlin Warner at 202-224-0290.

 

Sincerely,

 

MARIA CANTWELL

Chair

 

CC: Admiral Karl L. Schultz, Commandant, United States Coast Guard

###

Speeches

Inouye Applauds Senate Passage of Historic Fuel Economy Legislation

December 13, 2007

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Commerce Committee Chairman Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii) delivered the following statement today on the floor of the U.S. Senate just before passage of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.
 
“Mr. President, I rise today in support of the Renewable Consumer and Energy Efficiency Act of 2007. After months of constructive negotiations, we have successfully crafted thoughtful and rich bipartisan agreement, particularly in Title I, otherwise known as the ‘Ten-in-Ten’ Fuel Economy Act. Title I would mandate an increase in automobile fuel economy to a nation-wide fleet average of 35 miles per gallon by 2020. In addition, the Department of Transportation would adopt fuel economy standards for medium and heavy duty commercial vehicles for the first time.
 
“Today’s agreement marks historic progress: This is the first statutory increase in fuel economy standards for cars since 1975. Reducing our dependence on foreign oil is of vital importance to our national security, economic stability, and consumer welfare; the Ten-in-Ten Fuel Economy Act is a major step forward in achieving these goals. 
 
“Title I of the bill will save approximately 1.1 million barrels of oil per day in 2020, equal to one half of what we currently import daily from the Persian Gulf. By the year 2020, the legislation will save consumers approximately $22 billion at the pump and prevent approximately 200 million metric tons of greenhouse gases from polluting our environment each year. By dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, Title I would demonstrate to the world that America is a leader in fighting global warming.
 
“Legislation of this magnitude could have only been achieved through the hard work of a coalition of Members. In this case, without Senators Feinstein, Stevens, Snowe, Kerry, Dorgan, Lott, Carper, Boxer, Durbin, Alexander, Corker, and Cantwell, the agreement would not have been reached.
 
“In particular, I wish to congratulate Senator Feinstein on her efforts in developing this bill. Her dedication over the years has led to a public policy that very few thought possible.  I would also like to praise the efforts of my good friend Senator Stevens, who was instrumental in forging the compromise before us. I also would like to thank Chairman Dingell and Senators Levin and Stabenow for their hard work and willingness to achieve an agreement that aggressively improves fuel economy while protecting domestic automobile manufacturing and U.S. workers. The American automaker and autoworker have no better champions.
 
“In addition, the tireless efforts of groups dedicated to conservation and improving national security were vital to enacting this legislation. Of special note is the support of a non-partisan group of business executives and retired senior military leaders concerned about global energy security, known as Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE). I am grateful for the support and hard work of its leaders Frederick W. Smith and General P.X. Kelley, as well as Robbie Diamond, who served as their liaison. The Union of Concerned Scientists, David Friedman in particular, provided significant technical support and advocacy for the Ten-in-Ten Fuel Economy Act.   
 
“Finally, Mr. President, I would like to express my appreciation to all the hard working members of the staff who worked to make this historical legislation a reality. In particular, I would like to commend David Strickland, Alex Hoehn-Saric, Mia Petrini, and Jared Bomberg of my Commerce Committee staff for a job well done.
 
“The importance of this legislation cannot be underestimated. During the Arab oil embargo in 1973, Americans suffered the first devastating effects of our addiction to oil. Born out of this embargo, Congress put in place a fuel economy program that nearly doubled the gas mileage of cars from 1975 to 1985.  Passage of this bill will ensure that our nation’s energy priorities start moving in the right direction again. 
 
“Higher fuel economy standards will wean the country of its oil addiction, put billions of dollars of savings back into our domestic economy, and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
 
“A diverse group of constituencies support the Ten-in-Ten Fuel Economy Act, from environmentalists to automotive workers and automakers. While it sets forth aggressive standards, the Act also recognizes the challenges faced by the auto industry and ensures that those concerns will be addressed.  Providing flexibility to the automotive industry, the sponsors of these fuel economy provisions have worked together in a bipartisan manner to ensure that automakers have the tools they need to meet the requirements enumerated in the Act.  The Ten-in-Ten Fuel Economy Act directs the Secretary of Transportation to create two fuel economy curves, one for passenger cars and one for light trucks. 
This change from the Senate–passed bill provides the certainty that American automakers, auto workers, and car dealers requested, but the Act still requires that the combined car and light truck fleet meet a fuel economy standard of at least 35 miles per gallon by 2020.    
 
“Our actions today will improve national security, create jobs, help consumers, and protect the environment. At times it is the government’s responsibility to balance conflicting interests. Today, I believe we found that balance.”
 
###

Sen. Stevens Speaks on Aviation and Surface Transportation Security Legislation

March 1, 2007

 

 

Senator Stevens:  I thank my colleagues, Senators Lieberman and Collins for working with the Commerce Committee to include important security measures in this bill.  And, I’m very grateful to my great friend, Senator Inouye, for his willingness to work in our committee on a bipartisan basis to develop and report these measures.   

In the five and a half years since the horrific events of September 11th, we have made many improvements in the security of our nation’s transportation infrastructure and ensured communications interoperability.

Our job is far from over, whether it’s more improvements to be made or gaps to close.  In matters of security, we must not become complacent – as our enemies adapt, so must we. 

The Commerce Committee’s aviation and surface transportation security legislation, which have been included in S. 4 – will significantly enhance the ability of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), to fulfill their missions.  These provisions were developed by the Commerce Committee while mindful of the delicate balance between implementing tough security measures and the effect such regulations may have on the nation’s economy and the movement of goods.

The aviation provisions incorporated into S. 4 were reported by the Commerce Committee on February 13th as S. 509, the Aviation Security Improvement Act of 2007.  The provisions incorporate aviation-related 9/11 commission recommendations, and provide TSA with additional tools to carry out its layered approach to security. 

To do this, the aviation security provisions dedicate continued funding for the installation of in-line explosive detection systems utilized for the enhanced screening of checked baggage at our nation’s airports. 

We all recognize the importance of screening 100 percent of cargo transported to and within the .  Last year, in the SAFE Port Act, Congress acted to ensure that all cargo arriving in the by sea is screened.  In S. 4, we ensure that 100 percent of air cargo also is screened.  The air cargo supply chain handles over 50,000 tons of cargo each day, of which 26 percent is designated for domestic passenger carriers. 

Screening is particularly important in Alaska .  Anchorage, my home, is the number one airport in the for landed weight of cargo, and it is number three in the world for cargo throughput.  Our provision would require TSA to develop and implement a system to provide for the screening of all cargo being carried by passenger aircraft.

To address on-going concerns about passenger pre-screening procedures, the legislation requires DHS to create an “Office of Appeals and Redress” to establish a timely and fair process for airline passengers who believe they have been misidentified against the “No-Fly” or “Selectee” watch lists. 

TSA’s “layered approach to security” relies not only upon equipment and technological advances, but also upon improved security screening techniques employed by the TSA screeners as well as the very effective use of canines.  This legislation calls for TSA’s National Explosives Detection Canine Team to deploy more of these valuable resources across the nation’s transportation network.

The bill we are considering also contains the provisions of S. 184, the Surface Transportation and Rail Security Act of 2007, which was also developed and reported on a bipartisan basis by the Commerce Committee.

While the aviation industry has received most of the attention and funding for security, the rail and transit attacks in , , and all point to a common strategy utilized by terrorists.  The openness of our surface transportation network presents unique security challenges.  The vastness of these systems requires targeted allocation of our resources based on risk. 

Most of the surface transportation security provisions in the bill before the Senate today have been included previously as part of other transportation security bills introduced by Senator Inouye, Senator McCain, and myself.  Many of the provisions in the substitute amendment passed the Senate unanimously last year, as well as in the 108th Congress.  Each time, however, the House of Representatives did not agree to the need to address rail, pipeline, motor carrier, hazardous materials and other over-the-road security.  The time has come to send these provisions to the President’s desk.  We’re hopeful the House will agree this time.

The substitute also contains the provisions of the Commerce Committee-reported measure, S. 385, the Interoperable Emergency Communications Act.  Since 2001, we have heard the cries of public safety officials that the police, firefighters and emergency medical response personnel throughout the country need help achieving interoperability.

With this $1 billion program that helps every state, public safety will be able to move forward with real solutions and begin addressing the problems that have plagued our nation’s first responders for too long.

The legislation addresses all of the public safety issues that have been brought to the Commerce Committee’s attention.  It also includes $100 million to establish both Federal and State strategic technology reserves that will restore communications quickly in disasters equal in scale to hurricanes Katrina and Rita. 

We must not politicize national security.  The Commerce Committee’s provisions included in this bill are very important, and I urge their adoption.  Again, I thank very much the cooperation of the Homeland Security Government Affairs Committee. We achieved our reported bills that I have mentioned here from the Commerce Committee because of the bipartisanship in our Committee.  I hope that this debate on this important bill before the Senate will continue in that same spirit.  The American people really expect and deserve nothing less.

 

Senator Ted Stevens and Congressman Don Young Speak at Signing of Enrolled Magnuson-Stevens Act

January 3, 2007

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) in his role as President Pro Tempore, sign the enrolled Magnuson-Stevens Act on Wednesday, January 3, 2007. Stevens was joined by Congressman Don Young (R-Alaska) at the ceremony. The Magnuson-Stevens Act passed both the House and Senate last December. Legislation that passes both the House and Senate must be enrolled and signed by the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate before being sent to the President for final signature and approval into law.

Op-Eds

Can the Right Technology End Distracted Driving?

February 5, 2014

Can the Right Technology End Distracted Driving?

By Sen. Jay Rockefeller

Roll Call

Feb. 5, 2014

JDR Head ShotAt any given moment during any given day, hundreds of thousands of drivers in the United States are using their phones while behind the wheel — talking, texting or searching for information — and endangering their lives and the lives of those around them. Technology may be part of our daily habits, but using these devices while driving is becoming a fatal vice that threatens to undo the remarkable progress we have made to improve highway safety. According to the National Safety Council, as many as a quarter of today’s automobile crashes involve drivers talking or texting on their phones, and there is no sign of the problem abating.

Surveys show that nearly all Americans know the perils of distracted driving — that texting behind the wheel, for instance, makes it 23 times more likely that they will be involved in a crash. Yet the temptations to use electronic devices, and the resulting tragedies, persist.

Auto companies and the software industry are now eagerly developing in-car “infotainment” systems that offer ever-more connectivity and features to mirror the temptations of our smartphones. They say consumers are demanding constant connectivity in the car, and that these systems are safer than the alternatives. Further, they claim transferring such functionalities from the phone to the built-in system will reduce distractions and increase our safety because drivers will put down their phones.

Despite these new advances, I reject this “lesser of two evils” reasoning that, because in-car infotainment systems are supposedly safer than hand-held smartphones, they belong in cars. Lost amid this focus on a technological solution is careful consideration of whether these onboard systems should, in fact, replicate so much of the connectivity — a lot of it completely unrelated to driving — that we have on smartphones. For instance, I see no reason drivers should be able to update their social-media profiles or compare restaurant and hotel reviews while behind the wheel. Furthermore, researchers have shown that distractions come in different forms, and, while these in-car systems can reduce the amount of time that the drivers’ hands and eyes are off the wheel and the road, attention can still dangerously wander. 

In contrast to the current industry approach, I believe we should be leveraging the technology in our cars and harnessing the same ingenuity to reduce distracted driving, rather than creating new forms of distraction. Many drivers may, in fact, prefer to limit their distractions while they are on the road. And many parents would like the ability to establish such limitations for teen drivers in their family. Perhaps we should be looking to limit the functionality of mobile and built-in technologies, rather than accommodate them.

I strongly believe phones should be capable of automatically limiting functionalities while in the car, whether the phones are connected to the in-car systems or not. We know that technological means of accomplishing this already exist, but they are not widely available and do not seamlessly operate across software platforms. Mobile device-makers, software developers, automakers and wireless carriers should be working collaboratively now to remove these obstacles. This is a problem that cannot be solved by just one industry alone, and I would like to see broad cooperation across the spectrum of stakeholders.

Later this week, I am convening a summit on this critical public safety matter and bringing all of the key industries to the same table and pushing them to act — and to act now. Over the course of my chairmanship of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, I have dedicated significant attention to protecting Americans on our nation’s roadways. Yes, the car has never been safer, and technology has been a key ingredient in that success, but this progress is being undermined by the glut of nonessential technology that has nothing to do with the task of driving. 

It is my hope and expectation that the summit will spur industries to proactively seek technological solutions that can be widely adopted, readily available, and highlight to the public the life-or-death matter of staying focused behind the wheel.

###

The Digital Revolution Must Be Televised Nationwide

October 16, 2007

The Hill Special Report: Telecom - A revolution is coming to television sets across this country. On February 17, 2009–less than 500 days away–television broadcasters will switch from analog to digital signals. For viewers, this change holds tremendous promise. By migrating to digital, they can enjoy dramatically sharper pictures and crisper sound. Broadcasters now offering a single channel of analog programming will be able to develop multiple digital channels, with more regional news, weather, children’s fare, and content for non-English speakers. On top of this, the switch to digital means more efficient use of our airwaves, opening up more spectrum for our nation’s first responders.


The rewards of a successful digital television (DTV) transition are enormous. Like in any revolution, however, these rewards come with an undercurrent of risk. As many as 21 million households rely exclusively on over-the-air television. These households risk seeing their sets go dark. So do millions more that have one or more analog sets that are not connected to either cable or satellite service. Yet a recent poll from the National Association of Broadcasters suggests that only 1 in 10 Americans know when the digital transition is coming.


To ensure success, we must draw up a battle plan. At the federal level, this responsibility falls principally on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).


The FCC is charged with managing the airwaves used by our nation’s broadcasters. It must act decisively to ensure that broadcasters are fully prepared for the switch. It also must ensure that consumers are not only generally informed about the DTV transition, but also are given information tailored to advise them about changes occurring in the communities where they live.


The NTIA is in charge of the government program that, beginning January 1, 2008, will allow consumers to request up to two $40 coupons per household to defray the cost of digital-to-analog converter boxes. These boxes make it possible for consumers who rely on over-the-air service to continue to receive television broadcasts. Without them, their sets could cease to work. But with three months to go, the NTIA program is plagued by uncertainties. It is not clear which boxes have been certified and which retailers will stock them on their shelves.


Getting these boxes in the hands of consumers is a challenge. Getting the word out is even more daunting. Yet to date, efforts on the outreach front have been patchy. The FCC is in the early stages of reaching out to at-risk populations. The NTIA has $5 million to spend on consumer outreach, but its efforts have barely begun. Making a complicated situation even more difficult, the General Accountability Office (GAO) has suggested the absence of federal action is raising questions about who has ultimate authority for the switch. In the ominous words of a recent GAO witness: “It’s pretty clear to us that there is no one in charge.”


The time has come to manage the mechanics of the transition with the American public in mind. First, to get this done right, the Administration should establish a federal, interagency DTV Task Force, co-chaired by leadership at the FCC and NTIA. The DTV Task Force would determine how best to marshal existing resources across the federal government and advise Congress as to what additional measures may be necessary to ensure a smooth transition. A similar structure was used successfully to coordinate federal action in addressing the Y2K problem.


Second, as we develop this national effort, it is imperative that we match our work with local needs and strategies. National messages will only take us so far. What works in Houston may not work in Honolulu. Questions about the impact of broadcast tower construction, the presence of translator stations, and the need for antennas will require local answers. We need the equivalent of DTV “block captains” ready, willing, and able in every media market in this country.


Finally, we must enhance transparency and accountability for the digital transition. Indeed, success will require that we regularly measure data in each television market. As part of this assessment, the DTV Task Force should consider ways of collecting and reporting granular data that will validate successful strategies and provide early warning when we are at risk of running off the rails.


The countdown to February 17, 2009 is on. For the revolution to yield benefits for viewers across the country, the time to act is now.

THE HILL OP-ED: Communications issues still need Congress’s attention

February 7, 2007

As our nation moves farther into the digital age, there are several important issues that Congress should consider which will dramatically affect the way millions of Americans communicate. These issues include reforming universal service, easing the transition to digital television, and encouraging Internet access.


All Americans deserve the advantages presented by essential communications, and telemedicine and distance learning are especially important to rural America. To encourage the deployment of such services, we must maintain and reform the universal service program, which helps connect the entire nation. An important and overdue first step is the USA Act (S.101 – the Universal Service for Americans Act), which mirrors language contained in the comprehensive communications bill reported out of the Senate Commerce Committee last year.


The USA Act would place all communications companies on a level playing field, acknowledging new technologies and lowering the burden on industry. The bill ensures continued support for schools and libraries to provide broadband Internet access to students, library patrons and health clinics (including rural pharmacies). Additionally, it creates a program to support the expansion of broadband Internet access in underserved areas. More will need to be done, but these measures are desperately needed to ensure access to communications for all Americans so our nation does not lose its technological edge.


Basic communications services for Americans are not the only issues that need to be addressed. A sea change is coming in the way Americans watch television, especially for those who receive broadcast signals over the air. Last year, the Senate set a hard date for the transition from analog television broadcasting to digital television broadcasting. This transition will allow broadcast spectrum to be devoted to emergency interoperable communications for police, firemen, paramedics and other first responders.


Also, pursuant to the digital transition law, valuable broadcast spectrum will be auctioned and proceeds will fund a converter box program to ease the digital transition for consumers. Auction proceeds will also fund important grants for public safety and first responders. To help with the transition, the National Association of Broadcasters is launching a massive education campaign to ensure consumers are aware of the coming change and are prepared for the switch to digital signals.


The Internet is an increasingly vital part of our daily lives, and Congress must work to ensure that we do not hinder its growth. It is imperative that the government find ways to encourage the deployment of broadband throughout the nation and promote increased Internet access for all Americans. The digital television transition, which passed last Congress, will free up valuable spectrum for increased broadband Internet deployment.


The FCC has also played an important part in this goal by recently approving an item that will speed the deployment of advanced networks by telephone companies. Such networks will provide competition for cable companies, and reduce prices. These networks will also increase quality television programming and offer Americans even faster Internet access. Congress can also play a role in supporting improved Internet access by extending the Internet Tax Freedom Act, which will expire on Nov. 1, 2007.


As Congress addresses these pressing communications issues, it should not get sidetracked by theoretical problems. Some members of Congress would impose net regulation in an era of unprecedented investment, innovation and job creation. I continue to support the right of every broadband consumer to access all legal content on the Internet. But behind flashy catchphrases, special interests are pushing agendas that will not solve the communications issues that require immediate attention. In fact, both Robert Kahn and David Farber, known as the father and grandfather of the Internet, are firmly opposed to sweeping regulation of the Internet.


The Internet has not only existed, but flourished without unnecessary government intervention. It is my hope that special interests do not succeed in denying consumers the benefits of communications technology, investment, innovation and jobs.


Stevens is the ranking member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.