The nominations of Heidi King to be the NHTSA’s administrator and Ann Marie Buerkle to be the commissioner of the CPSB were among the seven picks OK’d by a 14-12 vote.
The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation on Wednesday approved eight nominations, including seven by a 14-12 roll call vote split between party lines.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Deputy Administrator Heidi King (pictured above) was among those who had her nomination agreed on by a roll call vote. She was nominated by President Trump in January to be the NHTSA’s administrator, which was the second time she had been nominated for the role by the president. The committee advanced her nomination by a floor vote of 14-13 during the previous Congress, but the nomination expired once Congress adjourned.
Several Democratic senators voiced opposition to King’s nomination.
“Our country should be on track to reach historic standards of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, but I’m very concerned if confirmed Ms. King will not only fail to put the brakes on this administration’s rollback of these critical standards, but she will hit the gas heading in the wrong direction,” said Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass. “Last year in this committee, Ms. King refused to stand up for strong fuel economy standards and that is why I oppose Ms. King’s nomination.”
Democratic lawmakers also had concerns about two other nominations.
Ann Marie Buerkle’s nomination for the chair of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSB) was advanced by a voice vote and nomination to be commissioner of the CPSB was agreed to by a roll call vote. Ranking member Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., said in her opening remarks that Buerkle, who has served as the commission’s acting chairman since February 2017, has “deferred to industry on issues related to children’s safety.”
“She has led this agency down a dangerous path that jeopardizes consumer safety over the past two years as acting char of CSPC,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said after the votes had been cast.
Buerkle has been nominated three times for the role by the president.
Barry Lee Myers’ nomination to be undersecretary of Commerce for oceans and atmosphere also was approved by a roll call vote.
Sen. Cantwell in her opening remarks said Myers “has been steadfastly and publicly committed to dismantling the agency he was supposed to lead. That in my mind represents a challenge and a conflict.”
The committee also agreed by roll call votes to the nomination of Diana Furchgott-Roth to be an assistant secretary of transportation and the nominations of Joseph Ryan Gruters, Leon A. Westmoreland and Rick A. Dearborn to be directors on the Amtrak board. Two senators placed holds on their votes for the Amtrak nominations. Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., said he placed a hold on his vote until he is satisfied with matters related to Amtrak and a meeting can be held.
“While I have no objection to any of those three and I believe they’re qualified to serve on the board, a hold will be placed on their nomination as they enter consideration in the Senate,” he said.
The committee agreed to Coast Guard promotions by a voice vote.
In legislative markups, S. 542, the Interstate Transport Act, and S. 877, the Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act of 2017, were among 13 bills approved.