Banking Committee Democrats Urge Chairman Shelby to Clear Nominations Backlog
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Democrats on the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs today urged Chairman Richard Shelby to stop obstructing President Obama’s nominees for critical Administration positions related to financial oversight, national security, export financing, and public transportation safety. In a letter to Chairman Shelby (R-AL), all 10 of the panel’s Democrats expressed concern that the Banking Committee has not yet voted on any of the President’s nominees in this Congress.
"For more than a year, the committee has failed to carry out one of its basic duties. It is the only committee in the Senate that did not act on a single nominee last year," the Banking Committee’s Democrats wrote.
Sixteen nominations are now pending before the Banking Committee. Chairman Shelby has said publicly that the panel will not move any nominations until the President appoints a Vice Chairman for Supervision at the Federal Reserve.
"We are aware of your concern that the Administration has not nominated anyone to serve as Vice Chair for Supervision at the Federal Reserve, but the response to one vacancy should not be the creation of 16 more. We respectfully ask that you clear the backlog of nominees without further delay," the Senators wrote.
The nominees include Adam Szubin, who was appointed in April 2015 to serve as Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Crimes at the Treasury Department. Szubin is currently serving in the position in an acting capacity. The post is essential to enforcing U.S. sanctions laws against countries like North Korea, Iran, and Russia, as well as to choking off funding to ISIS, al Qaeda, and other terrorist organizations.
Therese McMillan, currently the acting head of the Federal Transit Administration, has been waiting since July 2014 for confirmation to lead the agency on a permanent basis. The docket also includes Treasury Department positions overseeing financial institutions and two positions each on the governing boards of the Federal Reserve and Securities and Exchange Commission. In addition, the Export-Import Bank currently cannot approve transactions over $10 million because it does not have enough members on its board of directors.
The full text of the Senators’ letter is below:
February 22, 2016
The Honorable Richard Shelby
Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee
534 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Chairman Shelby:
We write to express our deep concern that the Senate Banking Committee has yet to act on any of the nominees President Obama has sent to the committee for consideration during this Congress.
For more than a year, the committee has failed to carry out one of its basic duties. It is the only committee in the Senate that did not act on a single nominee last year. Sixteen nominations are now pending before the committee. Four nominees have been waiting for action for over a year. Others have been in limbo for more than nine months. Only three have had hearings. Two have withdrawn. The committee has not held a single executive session to consider nominations, and no nominee has been discharged from the committee for full Senate consideration.
We are aware of your concern that the Administration has not nominated anyone to serve as Vice Chair for Supervision at the Federal Reserve, but the response to one vacancy should not be the creation of 16 more.
We respectfully ask that you clear the backlog of nominees without further delay. Once confirmed, they will play important roles – some in strengthening our economy, others in promoting financial stability, or protecting national security including efforts to fight ISIS, or safeguarding Americans from abuse and fraud, or ensuring our public transportation is safe. Failure to act impairs agencies’ and offices’ ability to fulfill all of their functions. Those nominees who have complete files deserve the Banking Committee’s immediate consideration.
Sen. Sherrod Brown (OH)
Sen. Jack Reed (RI)
Sen. Charles Schumer (NY)
Sen. Robert Menendez (NJ)
Sen. Jon Tester (MT)
Sen. Mark Warner (VA)
Sen. Jeff Merkley (OR)
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA)
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (ND)
Sen. Joe Donnelly (IN)
cc: Senator Mike Crapo
Senator Bob Corker
Senator David Vitter
Senator Pat Toomey
Senator Mark Kirk
Senator Dean Heller
Senator Tim Scott
Senator Ben Sasse
Senator Tom Cotton
Senator Mike Rounds
Senator Jerry Moran
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