July 31, 2007
Madame Chairman, thank you for holding today’s mark-up. While there are a number of important items on today’s agenda, I think the most important point is what you excluded from the agenda, not what you included.
First and foremost, I am deeply troubled that you did not include the NRC nominee Kristine Svenicki on today’s agenda. Her hearing and the follow up questions raised no issues, major or minor, about her qualifications. I understand there is some interest on the part of the majority in waiting for the re-nomination of Greg Jaczko. However, his current term does not expire until next June. During Ms. Svenicki’s hearing you said there was some precedent for re-nominating a sitting NRC Commissioner early, you promised to get us some examples which to date we haven’t seen.
I am most concerned because this Committee has a long bipartisan history of moving nominees through the Committee in a timely basis. If members have concerns, political or otherwise, they have waited until the floor to hold up nominees. I think politicizing the Committee process for the first time is a dangerous precedent to set, particularly as we look to a whole host of new Presidential nominees in the next Congress.
I would also note, that while I appreciate the Chairman adding my own small rural water assistance bill to the agenda, I remain concerned about the large number of lead Republican sponsored bills that have not been acted on despite literally months of requesting Committee action.
In particular, Madame Chairman, you have been reviewing Senator Thune’s E-Manifest Bill since last Fall. I know he has been getting frustrated with the length of time it continues to take and I hope it will be on the next markup agenda. I am also frustrated in the delay in moving Senator Allard’s Bill to transfer GSA land in Colorado to the Paralympics. We are not aware of any issues with this Bill, and there has been more than enough time to review it. I understand there may be some deadlines concerning the transfer, and I will encourage Senator Allard to go straight to the floor if Committee action is not taken soon.
Finally Madame Chairman, it will be seven weeks tomorrow since our last mark-up and so far, we have not seen any Committee reports for any of the legislation we reported that day. I hope that the draft Committee reports from that mark-up will be shared with the minority in short order.
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