Senate commerce panel approves Foxx as U.S. transportation secretary

 

McClatchy Washington Bureau

A Senate panel on Monday unanimously confirmed Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx to be the next U.S. transportation secretary, a final step toward what’s expected to be an easy confirmation by the full Senate.

Foxx had a smooth confirmation hearing last month before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, drawing praise from both Democrats and Republicans in a Capitol better known in recent years for polarization.

Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., who helped introduce Foxx to the committee, said in a statement that she was pleased his nomination was moving forward.

“Anthony has a proven record of success, and while he will be missed in North Carolina, the entire country will benefit from his leadership at the Transportation Department,” she said.

Even Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., a critic of the department’s handling of sequestration, said he looked forward to working with Foxx and said the full Senate would vote in the next couple of weeks. The mandatory spending cuts led the Federal Aviation Administration to temporarily furlough air-traffic controllers, a move that many Republicans criticized.

“Mayor Foxx has assured me that he will improve communication with the commerce committee and other members of Congress and I look forward to working with him to address the transportation challenges facing our country,” Thune, the committee’s ranking Republican, said in a statement.

As secretary, Foxx would oversee the agencies within the department that regulate the nation’s rail, aviation, transit and highway systems.

One of the challenges Foxx would confront at the department right away: The nation has a massive backlog of infrastructure repairs and not enough funding. The federal gasoline tax of 18.4 cents a gallon was last raised in 1993 and has not kept up with inflation or the increased fuel efficiency of cars. The tax supports the Highway Trust Fund, which for decades has funded highway and transit construction and maintenance.

The country’s aging infrastructure has the potential to compromise public safety, which Foxx has identified as the department’s first priority.

In the weeks since Foxx’s committee hearing, a major highway bridge partially collapsed in Washington state, two freight trains collided in Missouri and another derailed and caught fire in Maryland.

The committee also on Monday unanimously approved Chicago businesswoman Penny Pritzker to be the next secretary of commerce. Pritzker’s nomination was thought to be more controversial because of her fundraising efforts for President Barack Obama. Foxx and Pritzker are both staunch allies of the president, and in the end they drew little of the criticism that other Cabinet nominees have faced.

In a statement, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., the commerce committee’s chairman, called Foxx and Pritzker excellent choices.

“There has been strong bipartisan support for these nominees, and it was evident again today when they were both voted unanimously out of the commerce committee,” Rockefeller said. “I urge my colleagues to act quickly now to schedule votes on their nominations.”

Email: ctate@mcclatchydc.com; Twitter: @tatecurtis

Read more Politics Wires stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., the new House GOP whip, leaves a closed-door Republican strategy session on the immigration crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border after last-minute maneuvering failed to lock down conservative support for a planned vote, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, July 31, 2014. The surprise developments, coming on Congress' final day of action ahead of a five-week summer recess, were an embarrassing setback for Speaker John Boehner and his leadership team as a small group of tea party lawmakers once again upset their plans.

    House GOP divisions on border bill delay getaway

    House Republican leaders struggled to round up votes from recalcitrant conservatives for a bill dealing with the immigrant surge at the U.S.-Mexico border and head home for a five-week summer break boasting of acting to address the crisis.

  •  
FILE - In this March 13, 2014, file photo, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. The CIA's insistence that it did not spy on its Senate overseers collapsed July 31 with the release of a stark report by the agency's internal watchdog documenting improper computer surveillance and obstructionist behavior by CIA officers. Feinstein said in a statement: "The investigation confirmed what I said on the Senate floor in March — CIA personnel inappropriately searched Senate intelligence committee computers in violation of an agreement we had reached, and I believe in violation of the constitutional separation of powers."

    CIA director reverses himself on Senate spying

    For months, CIA Director John Brennan stood firm in his insistence that the CIA had little to be ashamed of after searching the computers of the Senate Intelligence Committee. His defiant posture quickly collapsed after a devastating report by his own inspector general sided against the CIA on each key point of the dispute with the Senate.

  • Solid US job gains expected for 6th straight month

    With a host of reports this week pointing to a healthier U.S. economy, analysts expect Friday's monthly jobs report to send a similar message.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category