WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, convened a business meeting to consider the nominations of Brenda Mallory to be Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and Janet McCabe to be Deputy Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). A bipartisan majority of Committee members voted to report nominations by recorded votes of 11 to 9. Their nominations now head to the Senate floor for a full vote.
In this same meeting, Committee members marked up the recently introduced Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act of 2021 (S.914) and voted unanimously to report the amended legislation out of the Committee.
The Committee also unanimously approved legislation to rename the headquarters of the Department of Transportation as the "William T. Coleman, Jr., Federal Building.”
Chairman Carper opened the meeting with the following statement:
“Good morning, everyone. I am pleased to call this business meeting to order as we prepare to consider two nominations, a water infrastructure bill and legislation to honor a barrier-breaking leader in transportation.
“First, let me say that I am delighted and grateful that we are voting today on important water legislation that is the result of months of collaboration by members of this committee on both sides of the aisle and the hard work of our staff members. The Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act increases our government’s commitment to providing safe and resilient water systems to cities and communities large and small.
“The bill authorizes funding for EPA’s Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Funds and directs resources particularly to disadvantaged, rural and tribal communities. This bill helps to ensure that the drinking water coming out of faucets across this country is safe to drink, regardless of a neighborhood’s zip code or the economic status of its citizens
“I want to especially thank Senators Capito, Duckworth, Lummis, and Cardin for their partnership and leadership on this legislation. Senators Cardin and Wicker have helped us to address water affordability for people who are struggling to pay their water bills. We appreciate their efforts.
“I am also proud that we are considering a bipartisan bill to name the Department of Transportation headquarters here in Washington, D.C. after the late William T. Coleman, the first African American ever to lead that agency. Mr. Coleman brought to USDOT a special focus on improving life in our cities and lowering air pollution from our transportation systems. Today, we come together to recognize his lifetime of service to this country.
“Today, we also are considering two of our president’s nominees.
“Up first is Brenda Mallory, who has been nominated to serve as Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, or CEQ. No stranger to CEQ, Ms. Mallory served there for a number of years after an impressive tenure of more than a decade at EPA, including under President Bush. She has earned respect from both sides of the aisle and would be the first African-American to lead the CEQ.
“I am confident that Ms. Mallory will ensure that bedrock protections from the National Environmental Policy Act are being fairly and adequately deployed to safeguard clean air and water throughout the country.
“She is an effective and proven leader who brings people together to find lasting solutions to some of our most pressing challenges. Thirteen past Republican CEQ chairs and EPA appointees recently sent to us a letter supporting Ms. Mallory’s nomination, and I’m proud to vote for her today.
“Next, we are considering our president’s choice for Deputy Director of the EPA, Janet McCabe. We would be hard-pressed to find many others with Ms. McCabe’s level of experience and understanding of the inner workings of this agency. After the chaos of the past four years, I have every confidence that Ms. McCabe is the kind of steady hand we need working with Administrator Michael Regan to rebuild morale and restore scientific integrity in this agency.
“Another leader who enjoys support from across the political spectrum, Ms. McCabe has been recommended by no less than nine people who previously served in the role for which she’s been nominated—five Democrats and four Republicans.
“Members of this committee have heard me say more than a few times that true leaders are humble, not haughty. They have the hearts of servants and understand that their job is to serve, not be served.
“Brenda Mallory and Janet McCabe will each be that kind of leader. I’m confident they will serve the American people with integrity and humility.
“Let me close by noting how proud I am to lead this committee with our Ranking Member, Senator Capito. We’ve shown today, yet again, that we can come together across the aisle to help meet the pressing water infrastructure needs of the American people.
“We can do that with our nominations before us, too. Throughout this entire process, Brenda Mallory and Janet McCabe have conducted themselves with dignity and honor. Neither of them have uttered a partisan or divisive word during the confirmation process. I urge our colleagues to join me in supporting them.
“And, in the unlikely event that they prove to be unreasonable or unresponsive, we’ll invite them to come before this Committee again, answering bipartisan questions—although I highly doubt that need will arise.
“Just as this committee comes together on water, let’s come together to confirm these highly qualified nominees.
“I’m proud to support all measures before us today, and I hope all our colleagues will do the same.