May 23, 2017

Brown Statement at Committee Vote on Treasury, Commerce Nominees

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) – ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs – issued  the following opening statement at today’s Banking Committee executive session on four nominations for key national security roles in the U.S. Treasury and Commerce Departments. The nominees are Sigal Mandelker to be Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Crimes; Marshall Billingslea to be Assistant Treasury Secretary for Terrorist Financing; Heath Tarbert to be Treasury Assistant Secretary for International Markets and Development; and Mira Radielovic Ricardel to be Commerce Under Secretary for Export Administration.

Brown’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, follow.

Senator Sherrod Brown - Opening Statement
Executive Session on Treasury, Commerce Nominees
May 23, 2017 

Mr. Chairman, a week ago the Banking Committee first met to assess the qualifications of four nominees the President has put forward for key national security roles in the Treasury and Commerce Departments.

These include Ms. Sigal Mandelker to be Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Crimes; Mr. Marshall Billingslea to serve as Treasury Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing; Mr. Heath Tarbert to be Treasury Assistant Secretary for International Markets; and Ms. Mira Ricardel to serve as Commerce Under Secretary for Export Administration.

These nominees have substantial experience that is relevant to the critical national security jobs to which they have been nominated. All were responsive to the committee’s questions, and indicated a willingness to work with the committee going forward, including answering oversight questions posed by committee members.

Even so, I had hoped that the Chairman would withhold marking up these nominees until outstanding bipartisan requests for critical financial information from the Treasury Department, related to the Intelligence Committee’s ongoing Russia investigation, have been fully satisfied.

I understand that while Treasury has indicated a willingness to provide to the Intelligence Committee certain information requested about a month ago as part of its Russia investigation, and recently provided a small number of documents, it has not yet satisfied that request for information.

Therefore, I intend to join Senator Warner in voting against Ms. Mandelker’s nomination today, to underscore our interest in having this request for financial information satisfied by Treasury as soon as possible. I hope that Treasury will fully cooperate with this important bipartisan investigation, since efforts to follow the money on Russia will be very important.

Even while the investigation of the Special Counsel, Mr. Mueller, moves forward, there is clearly a lot of information Congressional committees, including the Senate Intelligence Committee, should still be able to get to understand precisely happened here.

As I have said, considering the volatile situations in North Korea, Syria, Iran, and with non-state actors like ISIS, I am all for getting these important national security nominees in place.

How fast we do that depends in part on how quickly the Treasury Department satisfies these bipartisan requests for information. I intend to support the remaining three nominees today, and though I will vote against her nomination today as a procedural matter, I hope to be able to support Ms. Mandelker’s nomination on the Senate floor.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.