EXECUTIVE SESSION; Congressional Record Vol. 157, No. 158
(Senate - October 20, 2011)

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[Pages S6800-S6801]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                           EXECUTIVE SESSION

                                 ______
                                 

  NOMINATION OF HEATHER A. HIGGINBOTTOM TO BE DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF THE 
                    OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the Senate will 
proceed to executive session to consider the following nomination, 
which the clerk will report.
  The bill clerk read the nomination of Heather A. Higginbottom, of the 
District of Columbia, to be Deputy Director of the Office of Management 
and Budget.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, there will be 2 
minutes of debate equally divided and controlled in the usual form.
  Mr. KERRY. Mr. President, I reserve my time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maine.
  Ms. COLLINS. Mr. President, I reserve the time we have.
  Mr. KERRY. It is my understanding that under the order, this is the 
time for the debate. Is that correct?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Massachusetts is correct.
  Mr. KERRY. If the time is not about to be used, it will be tallied?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. That is correct.
  Mr. KERRY. I suggest we yield it back mutually or someone speaks.
  Ms. COLLINS. Mr. President, Senator Sessions is on his way to the 
floor. He does have reservations about the nominee. I think it would be 
courteous, since we know he is on his way, to delay just for a couple 
of moments so he could make his comments.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection to Senator Collins' 
request?
  Mr. KERRY. I am always in favor of extending courtesies. I think it 
is important to do that. But I would just reserve, if I can, therefore, 
that we might wait until the Senator is here and have those 2 minutes 
used at that time.
  I will suggest the absence of a quorum until the Senator is here, at 
which time we will have 2 minutes equally divided.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection? Without objection, it is 
so ordered.
  Mr. KERRY. I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Begich). The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. KERRY. I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call 
be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. CONRAD. Mr. President, we are now considering the nomination of 
Heather Higginbottom to be Deputy Director of the Office of Management 
and Budget. We need to confirm this nominee.
  The Deputy Director position has been vacant for 19 months. The 
Senate received Ms. Higginbottom's nomination papers in January, and 
she was reported favorably out of both the Budget and Government 
Affairs Committees in the spring.
  Ms. Higginbottom is fully qualified for this position. She served as 
Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of the Domestic 
Policy Council at the White House. She also previously served as 
legislative director for Senator Kerry. So she brings with her a broad 
knowledge of Federal policy and the operations of the government.
  It is important to note that Ms. Higginbottom was personally selected 
by Director Lew as the individual he wants as his Deputy. His selection 
of Ms. Higginbottom speaks volumes about her ability and the respect 
she has attained from her colleagues in the administration. Director 
Lew needs to have the Deputy Director of his choice working with him at 
OMB.
  I know some have questioned this nominee's qualifications. They are 
wrong to do so. Ms. Higginbottom is absolutely qualified for this job, 
and she is as qualified as other individuals who served in this 
position during Republican administrations.
  I hope the Senate joins me in voting to confirm this nominee.
  Ms. CANTWELL. Mr. President, as we consider the nomination of Heather 
Higginbottom to be Deputy Director of OMB, I would like to bring to the 
attention of my colleagues my concern for how OMB and the Coast Guard 
have been conducting business.
  The Arctic is opening at an alarming rate, which creates new 
requirements for the U.S. Coast Guard and the Navy. Multiple 
Presidential directives call for Arctic presence to meet national 
security and homeland security needs; to facilitate safe, secure, and 
reliable navigation; to protect maritime commerce, and to protect the 
environment as resource development increases.
  Polar icebreakers are critical to meet our national needs in the 
Arctic. According to a recent independent study, the Coast Guard and 
the Navy need six heavy-duty icebreakers and four medium icebreakers. 
This is not a political document; it is a study of the national 
security and commercial viability of the United States. It is not a 
surprise to this Senator that any third party, any independent judgment 
maker, or anyone paying attention as the Chinese, and the Russians, oil 
companies, even pirates actively stake claims in the Arctic, that the 
United States needs to be prepared to engage to protect its interests 
there.
  In the Coast Guard Reauthorization Act of 2010, we required the Coast

[[Page S6801]]

Guard to complete a comparative business case analysis to determine how 
we can revitalize icebreaking fleet while maximizing taxpayer dollars. 
This study was due on October 15, and today I have come to the floor 
because the law is being ignored. The Coast Guard and OMB have failed 
to deliver this report that I remind you was required by law to be 
delivered to Congress days ago.
  Even more distressing to me is that the Coast Guard is moving forward 
with decommissioning one of only two of our Nation's heavy duty 
icebreakers. We think this is unwise, and it is exactly why the 
Congress required a study of such an action. Surely the administration 
isn't simply choosing to flout the law by moving forward before this 
cost-benefit analysis has been completed or reviewed by Congress.
  So I know Heather Higginbottom is probably keenly interested in the 
debate going on here today, and I hope that if she is listening and if 
she is confirmed as the Deputy Director of OMB, she will take this 
leadership opportunity to transform the way OMB does its business. It 
is time for OMB to stop holding up congressionally directed reports. I 
know there are a lot of smart people over at OMB, and they may not 
always like the people and their representatives questioning their 
judgment. However, even OMB must follow the law, and in this case they 
must deliver the business case analysis to Congress immediately. Some 
of the folks over at OMB may not agree with the Congress that polar 
icebreaker assets should be a priority. And while everyone is entitled 
to their opinion, even if it illustrates a complete lack of 
understanding of our national security needs, in our system of 
government Congress makes the laws, and at least this Senator expects 
them to be followed.
  Mr. KERRY. With the consent of the other side, all time will be 
yielded back.
  I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second? There is a 
sufficient second.
  The question is, Will the Senate advise and consent to the nomination 
of Heather A. Higginbottom, of the District of Columbia, to be Deputy 
Director of the Office of Management and Budget?
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk called the roll.
  The result was announced--yeas 64, nays 36, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 171 Ex.]

                                YEAS--64

     Akaka
     Alexander
     Baucus
     Begich
     Bennet
     Bingaman
     Blumenthal
     Boxer
     Brown (OH)
     Cantwell
     Cardin
     Carper
     Casey
     Collins
     Conrad
     Coons
     Corker
     Durbin
     Feinstein
     Franken
     Gillibrand
     Graham
     Hagan
     Harkin
     Inouye
     Johanns
     Johnson (SD)
     Kerry
     Klobuchar
     Kohl
     Kyl
     Landrieu
     Lautenberg
     Leahy
     Levin
     Lieberman
     Manchin
     McCaskill
     Menendez
     Merkley
     Mikulski
     Moran
     Murkowski
     Murray
     Nelson (NE)
     Nelson (FL)
     Portman
     Pryor
     Reed
     Reid
     Rockefeller
     Sanders
     Schumer
     Shaheen
     Snowe
     Stabenow
     Tester
     Toomey
     Udall (CO)
     Udall (NM)
     Warner
     Webb
     Whitehouse
     Wyden

                                NAYS--36

     Ayotte
     Barrasso
     Blunt
     Boozman
     Brown (MA)
     Burr
     Chambliss
     Coats
     Coburn
     Cochran
     Cornyn
     Crapo
     DeMint
     Enzi
     Grassley
     Hatch
     Heller
     Hoeven
     Hutchison
     Inhofe
     Isakson
     Johnson (WI)
     Kirk
     Lee
     Lugar
     McCain
     McConnell
     Paul
     Risch
     Roberts
     Rubio
     Sessions
     Shelby
     Thune
     Vitter
     Wicker
  The nomination was confirmed.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the motion to 
reconsider is considered made and laid upon the table. The President 
will be immediately notified of the Senate's action.

                          ____________________