WASHINGTON, July 28, 2017 – At a Wednesday confirmation hearing for Peter Davidson to be general counsel of the Department of Commerce and others, Senate Commerce Committee ranking member Bill Nelson, D-Florida, said the country needed data-driven leadership.
Chairman John Thune, R-South Dakota, introduced Davidson and the other nominees.
Davidson was senior vice president of congressional relations at Verizon for more than a decade. If confirmed, he would provide legal and policy direction for an array of Commerce Department functions.
Nelson said he has been talking about the issue of roads, ports, rails and broadband languishing for years, but nothing has still been done. This jeopardizes safety, and programs, such as Amtrak, need funding, he said.
Davidson said it was important that the Commerce Department treat businesses fairly. He spoke against policies that create barriers and said it was important to also protect against unfair policies from foreign governments. He also highlighted the importance of an accurate U.S. census.
He also said that it was easy to achieve goals when working in a bipartisan manner.
Other Commerce Department officials also questioned
The other nominees being considered at the hearing were Ronald Batory to be administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration, Mark Buzby to be administrator of the Maritime Administration, and Karen Kelley to be undersecretary of commerce for economic affairs.
Batory recently served as president and chief operating officer of Conrail. If confirmed, he will be responsible for developing passenger and railroad policies, safety regulations and research and development.
Buzby is a retired Navy admiral. If confirmed, he will be responsible for repairing external relationships, insuring a safe environment for cadets and overseeing the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.
Kelley has had a career in financial investment with Invesco, an investment management company. If confirmed, she will produce in depth reports, fact sheets and briefings on economic policy issues and events.
Batory said he wanted to enhance railroad administration training opportunities, and that safety would be a priority.
Buzby, born and raised in Atlantic City, New Jersey, said that he was destined to be a mariner, having taking his first breath of salt air as an infant. He wants to ensure that U.S. flagships in good repair and that the skilled mariners are needed, and he will deal with the Merchant Marine Academy is improved.
Kelley said that a high-quality 2020 census was her highest priority.
Chairman and ranking member weigh in
Under questioning from Thune, all four pledged to work with the committee, and all of them said yes.
Nelson wanted to prioritize safety at railroad crossings as trains get faster
Nelson then asked Davidson how he would deal with silencing experts and if experts would be free from political influence. Davidson said he will insure that laws and regulations will be upheld and will make sure information provided by experts is accurate.
Nelson replied by asking Davidson what he would think if employees weren’t allowed to use the term “climate change.” Davidson said he would look into any interference with the duty of experts. Davidson also said transparency and public comments help create better regulations and laws.
Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, asked Kelley if she would commit to resisting pressure from the Trump Administration or any political pressure at all. She committed to resisting pressure.
Schatz said no one of either party should be prohibited from using words to describe their world, referring to the conversation Nelson had with Davidson.
(Photo by Casey Ryan.)
- Big Tech’s Response to Coronavirus: Face Masks, Hiring Binges, Free Web Sites and Cash Donations
- Democrats Call for New Infrastructure Stimulus Legislation Includes Large Broadband Provision
- The FCC Could Do More Now About the Digital Divide, Say Panelists at Broadband Breakfast Live Online Event
- Coronavirus Roundup: Senators Urge Distance Learning, Zoom Privacy, NTIA Broadband and RUS Grants
- Federal Communications Commission Proposal for Unlicensed Spectrum in 6 GHz Band Widely-Praised
Signup for Broadband Breakfast
Health1 month ago
Battling Coronavirus COVID-19, Broadband Could Provide Relief Although Telemedicine May Not Help
Net Neutrality1 month ago
FCC Seeks Comment on Net Neutrality Issues Remanded by Appeals Court: Public Safety, Pole Attachments and Lifeline
Health3 weeks ago
Broadband Breakfast Live Online Will Stream Daily in March on ‘Broadband and the Coronavirus’
Artificial Intelligence1 month ago
U.S. Progress on AI and Quantum Computing Will Best China, Says CTO Michael Kratsios
Antitrust1 week ago
Information Technology and Innovation Foundation Brings Global Antitrust Experts Together in Videoconference
Broadband Mapping2 weeks ago
Commerce Department’s NTIA Details Its New-Found Progress in Broadband Mapping Technology
Broadband Mapping & Data1 month ago
Poor Broadband Maps and Lack of a Consolidated Voice Hinder Advocacy for Better Rural Internet
Broadband TV2 weeks ago
Broadband Breakfast Live Online on Monday, March 23, 2020 – Free and Low Cost Internet Plans During Coronavirus