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 business meeting.
At the business meeting, the committee advanced S. 3239, William T. Coleman, Jr., Department of Transportation Headquarters Act, and 18 General Services Administration resolutions.
To watch the full business meeting, click here.
Senator Barrasso’s remarks:
“Today we will consider one bill and 18 General Services Administration resolutions.
“Today we will consider S. 3239, the William T. Coleman, Jr., Department of Transportation Headquarters Act.
“Senator Wicker introduced S. 3239 at the end of January.
“I joined the bill as an original cosponsor.
“So did Ranking Member Carper and Senators Booker, Cantwell, Casey, Harris, Toomey, Scott, and Inhofe.
“I would like to thank Senator Wicker for his work on this bipartisan piece of legislation.
“William T. Coleman, Jr. devoted his life to public service.
“He was the first African American secretary of transportation, and only the second African American to hold a cabinet-level position.
“This bill commemorates his legacy by designating the U.S. Department of Transportation’s headquarters as the William T. Coleman, Jr., Federal Building.
“A Republican, Coleman was an adviser to every president, Republican and Democrat, from Dwight D. Eisenhower through George W. Bush.
“His service included appointments to several presidential commissions.
“As an esteemed civil rights attorney, Coleman was a lead strategists and co-author of the legal brief filed for the Supreme Court’s seminal case on racial inequality, Brown v. Board of Education.
“His participation in this landmark case came just a few years after he broke new ground as the first African American to clerk for a U.S. Supreme Court Justice.
“At Harvard Law School, Coleman was the third African American to serve on the board of editors of the Harvard Law Review.
“He graduated in 1946, ranked first in his class.
“Coleman broke down racial barriers for others who came after him.
“In 1995, Coleman was awarded the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, for his contributions to the legal profession and to society.
“William T. Coleman, Jr. passed away in March of 2017.
“It’s an honor to join my fellow Senators to celebrate the life of such a distinguished American.
“I encourage every senator to support this legislation.
“Today, we will also consider 18 resolutions to approve prospectuses providing for General Services Administration leases.
“These prospectuses will allow agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, to consolidate space, resulting in increased efficiency and saving taxpayer money.
“The federal government stands to save roughly $3.5 million each year if all the prospectuses are approved.”