Click here to watch Chairman Barrasso’s remarks.  

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), delivered the following remarks at a committee hearing on the nominations of:

  • Kathleen Hartnett White to be a member of the Council on Environmental Quality; and
  • Andrew Wheeler to be deputy administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

For more information on their testimonies click here.

Senator Barrasso’s remarks:

“Today, we will consider the nominations of Kathleen Hartnett White to be a member of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and Andrew Wheeler to be deputy administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

“Before I speak about the nominees, I want to reiterate remarks I made last week on the Senate floor that are applicable to today’s hearing.

“All year long, Democrats have been putting up roadblocks to President Trump’s nominations.

“Democrats have been forcing 30 hours of debate on even some of the most bipartisan of President Trump’s nominees.

“But then, those Democrats have not been showing up to use that time for debate.

“The 30 hours.

“In the past, both sides would agree to waive the time requirements and to move on to other Senate business.

“But today, many Democrats insist on cloture votes and then insist that we waste hour after hour on the Senate floor, even when there’s no one here, to debate the nominee in front of us.

“It’s time to end this pointless spectacle.

“We have nearly 100 nominees for important jobs in the administration on the Executive Calendar awaiting a vote on the Senate floor.

“The Environment and Public Works Committee has reported 11 nominees to the full Senate for approval.

“Only two of whom have received votes on the Senate floor so far.

“I am pleased that we will be able to vote on another this week, but unfortunately it required cloture and 30 hours of debate.

“As of last Friday, there have been 51 cloture votes on President Trump’s nominees.

“In comparison, the previous four administrations had only a total of seven cloture votes on their nominees at this point in their administrations.

“That would be Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and both Presidents Bush.

“Democrats are not using the Senate rules for debate, or deliberation, only for delay.

“It is therefore time to change the Senate rules and go back to the process that Senator Schumer supported in 2013 and 2014.

“Today, the schedule allows us to do one or two nominations in a typical week.

“If we go back to the 2014 Schumer standard, we could clear multiple nominations in a day.

“Now, I would like to turn to today’s nominees.

“President Trump nominated Kathleen Hartnett White to be a member of the CEQ.

“The president intends to designate Ms. White as chair of CEQ upon her confirmation by the Senate.

“CEQ was established pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act the implementation of which CEQ oversees.

“CEQ is responsible for coordinating federal environmental efforts.

“It develops and recommends national policies to the President that promote the improvement of environmental quality.

“James Connaughton, former Chair of CEQ under President George W. Bush said this of Ms. White, he said she is ‘clearly highly qualified, adept and has a breadth of experience.’

“Ms. White currently serves as a distinguished senior fellow in-residence and director of the Armstrong Center for Energy & Environment at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, which she joined in 2008.

“From 2001 to 2007, she served as chairman and commissioner of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

“Ms. White has also served as a leader of the Lower Colorado River Authority, the Texas Water Development Board, the Texas Economic Development Commission, Environmental Flows Study Commission, the Texas Emissions Reduction Advisory Board, the Texas Water Foundation, the National Cattleman’s Association, and the Texas Wildlife Association.

“I look forward to hearing from Ms. White how she will bring her breadth of experience to bear on CEQ.

“President Trump also nominated Andrew Wheeler to be deputy administrator of the EPA.

“The deputy administrator plays a central role in developing and implementing programs and activities focused on fulfilling the EPA’s mission of protecting human health and the environment.

“The deputy administrator oversees agency-wide initiatives and coordinates important issues with EPA’s regional and program offices.

“I was heartened by the Ranking Member’s positive comments about Mr. Wheeler and his dedication to EPA’s mission.

“Our ranking member has previously stated ‘the fact that we’ve worked with him, we know him he used to work with George Voinovich, who was one of my closest friends and allies on the environment is certainly helpful.’ He went on to say ‘And I think having worked in the agency, he actually cares about the environment; the air we breathe; the water we drink; the planet on which we live.’

Mr. Wheeler has spent over 25 years working in the environmental field.

“First, as a career employee with the title of Environmental Protection Specialist at EPA for four years.

“Then, as EPW’s Clean Air Subcommittee staff director for six years;

“Next, as EPW’s Republican staff director and chief counsel for six years.

“Finally, as a consultant and lobbyist for a large variety of energy and environmental clients for the last eight years.

“We know how well-qualified Mr. Wheeler is, and if confirmed, what a wealth of experience and expertise he will bring to a critically important role in protecting America’s public health and safety.

“As I turn to Senator Carper, I would also add, like your two sons, Andrew is also an Eagle Scout.”