WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, released the following statement on the nomination of Robert Feitel to be Inspector General of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).
“As senators return to Washington to vote on Robert Feitel, the president’s nominee to be inspector general of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, it should be noted that the Environment and Public Works Committee was willing to approve this particular nominee unanimously with a vote by voice, a vote that did not require every member to be physically in attendance.
“Like many other parts of the country, Washington D.C. is continuing to see a rise in cases of COVID-19. As the United States continues to grapple with this global pandemic, the United States Senate should be focused on examining issues related to the pandemic. The Senate should not be returning to Washington while the city is operating under stay-at-home orders to act on non-urgent business. Our top priority right now should be figuring out how we can better support our nation’s first responders, health professionals, businesses and state and local governments, many of whom are stressed almost to the breaking point by the devastating toll of this disease.
“The Majority Leader has indicated that he’s concerned with nominations and filling vacancies in the midst of this global pandemic. Well, then, let’s fill positions that are actually relevant to the crisis at hand. We can start by looking at the president’s actions over the last month as he has unceremoniously removed, reassigned or undermined the Inspectors General charged with overseeing different pieces of the administration’s response to the coronavirus. At an especially critical time, we have new vacancies because independent Inspectors General simply weren’t loyal enough to the president or dared to criticize his failures.
“It’s clear that Congress needs to do a much better job supporting our independent Inspectors General and speaking up when the president takes retaliatory actions against the independent watchdogs responsible for identifying failures, waste, fraud and abuse across the federal government. What’s more, too many of our nation’s federal agencies still have acting inspectors general who have not been confirmed by the Senate. Our federal agencies need strong and independent inspectors general, and the NRC is no exception. We cannot be complacent when it comes to nuclear safety. We need to ensure that our nation’s nuclear industry is held to the highest standard. Mr. Feitel is well qualified and prepared to take on this important responsibility.”