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John T.
Republican SD

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  • Executive Calendar, Nomination Discharged, and Privileged Nominations

    by Senator John Thune

    Posted on 2014-12-16

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    THUNE. Mr. President. I support the nomination of Dr. Mark Rosekind to be the next administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NHTSA.

    Dr. Rosekind has served as a member of the National Traffic Safety Board, NTSB since 2009. His expertise is in developing countermeasures for fatigue in order to enhance vehicle safety. He also previously served at NASA for a number of years, and founded a technology company aimed at creating software that helps to reduce the role of fatigue in traffic incidents.

    While I have some reservations about his somewhat limited management experience, given the size of the workforce he has been nominated to lead, I believe Dr. Rosekind's experience and expertise will enable him to approach this agency that many perceive to be in crisis with an eye toward making it more agile and technologically capable. I believe that NHTSA must have a leader who can hit the ground running, and Dr. Rosekind's extensive work in the safety area gives me confidence that he will be the right leader at this time.

    As I stated at Dr. Rosekind's nomination hearing last week, the string of auto recalls this year has been cause for grave concern. We are on pace to have the all-time worst year for auto recalls in U.S. history, with about 60 million vehicles being subject to recalls so far. In many of these cases, there are legitimate questions about whether NHTSA should have identified the defective products earlier and communicated more effectively with the public.

    Since the start of the year, I have called on President Obama to nominate a qualified individual to lead NHTSA without delay because inaction sends a terrible signal to the regulated community and the American people about automobile safety and oversight.

    It took 343 days for President Obama to nominate a qualified individual to lead NHTSA, at a time when the Nation faced a year of record recalls, from the GM ignition switch recalls that began in February to the recalls involving defective Takata air bags. In fact, President Obama did not formally nominate Dr. Rosekind until the evening before the Commerce Committee was to hold a hearing regarding these defective Takata air bags.

    By contrast, it has taken only 22 days for the Senate to receive the nomination, work through regular order at the Commerce Committee to hold a hearing and a markup for Dr. Rosekind's nomination, and today, to confirm his nomination by the full Senate. I believe the Senate's action today sends the clear signal that Senators on both sides of the aisle care very deeply about improving auto safety.

    I look forward to working with Dr. Rosekind as NHTSA continues to work through the issues underlying the record number of recalls this year. I particularly look forward to learning the conclusions of the top-to-bottom review of NHTSA currently being conducted by the Obama administration, which Dr. Rosekind has promised to share publicly. Dr. Rosekind has a challenging road ahead of him, and the Commerce Committee will continue to pursue rigorous oversight of NHTSA for the foreseeable future, as well as possible solutions to better address some of the lapses that have occurred both at NHTSA and with certain auto manufacturers and parts suppliers.

    I thank the Presiding Officer, and I yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum.


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