(Senate - December 07, 2017)

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[Congressional Record Volume 163, Number 200 (Thursday, December 7, 2017)]
[Pages S7909-S7910]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                           EXECUTIVE CALENDAR

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the Senate will 
proceed to the following nomination, which the clerk will report.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk read the nomination of Susan 
Parker Bodine, of Maryland, to be an Assistant Administrator of the 
Environmental Protection Agency.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Delaware.
  Mr. CARPER. Thank you, Mr. President.
  I rise today to speak about the confirmation of Susan Bodine to lead 
the Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Enforcement and 
Compliance Assurance.
  For those who may not know, that is a big job. This is an incredibly 
important job. The EPA's enforcement office protects the health of our 
citizens and our environment by ensuring that everyone is playing by 
the same rules. When bad actors don't follow the rules that we have put 
in place to maintain a clean and healthy environment for all Americans, 
it is EPA's enforcement office that holds them accountable.
  In the past, the actions taken by this office at EPA have led to 
reductions in toxic air pollution, as well as to the cleanup of 
contaminated lands and waterways across our country. In fact, last year 
alone, EPA's enforcement work required companies to invest some $13.7 
billion in similar cleanup efforts.
  From the time that she was nominated, Susan Bodine's resume suggests, 
not just to me but to almost all of us, that she can play a very 
constructive role if she were confirmed to serve as head of EPA's 
enforcement office. Ms. Bodine has served as a staff member in both the 
House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate for over a decade. She 
also spent time working in the administration of George W. Bush. Given 
that breadth of experience, I believe she has a good understanding of 
the relationship that should exist between the separate but equal 
branches of our government and the critical role that EPA's enforcement 
office plays.

  When she was nominated for this position, Ms. Bodine was kind enough 
to come to my office and spend a considerable amount of time with me 
and with my staff to discuss the job and her qualifications, which I 
appreciated very much. She spoke of the work she had done for Senators 
Inhofe and Barrasso, both of whom have taken seriously their oversight 
roles on the EPW Committee.
  From the day Ms. Bodine and my staff and I met in my office, I have 
made explicitly clear to Ms. Bodine that while I think she is well 
qualified for this job, I also take seriously the oversight role that 
we play on the Environment and Public Works Committee.
  From the day of that meeting with Ms. Bodine until now, my request 
has been consistent, yet fairly simple: The EPA should provide 
complete, adequate, and timely responses to the committee that oversees 
the work of that Agency. Absent a serious commitment to do so, I have 
consistently said that I would be unable to support moving forward 
almost any EPA nominees.
  I have also said from the very beginning that I do not make such 
statements lightly or with any sense of joy, but I believe firmly that 
this body and its Members have a constitutional duty to perform 
rigorous oversight and that we must protect that responsibility 
regardless of which party happens to be in power. Over 200 days is far 
too long to wait for responses to serious inquiries, such as those 
about the toxic pesticides that this EPA has deemed safe after the 
previous administration proposed banning them. I know that no matter 
who is in charge, we can do better than that.
  As my Democratic colleagues and I know all too well, we are not the 
majority party. We don't control the Senate or its activities or who is 
confirmed here or who is debated on the floor. For instance, despite my 
many objections and those of my colleagues, Bill Wehrum was confirmed 
to head up the EPA's Office of Air and Radiation. So my repeated 
requests have just been that--an ask with the hope that all of us, as 
Members of this body, could agree that certain responsibilities are 
more important than political wins. Some of my Republican colleagues 
have supported me in this, and I am grateful for that support.
  As of late, I see that EPA is making a good-faith effort to begin to 
respond to our requests--requests of the minority within the 
Environment and Public Works Committee. I am now satisfied with many of 
these responses--not all but many of these responses--that they have 
sent so far, and I am pleased that we are seeing some real progress. I 
am hopeful--and I think I speak for the Democratic Members of the 
Environment and Public Works Committee and the Democratic Members of 
the Senate--that this progress will continue.
  I have been privileged to serve in this body for some 17 years now. I 
think my colleagues know me fairly well, and I think they know that I 
try to be fair. I have voted for President Trump's nominees and for the 
nominees of past Republican Presidents. I do not have and have never 
had an interest in delay for the sake of delay. In fact, I said just 
last week that if a subset of the letters that were due back from EPA 
were completed in short order and were truly responsive, we could make 
progress in nominations. The Agency has done its part, and now we are 
here today with Ms. Bodine set to be confirmed by this body--not next 
week, not next month, today. I hope that this is the beginning of a new 
chapter and that EPA's responses to our oversight requests will be more 
timely going forward.
  Having said that, my sincere congratulations to Susan Bodine and her 
family, as well as thanks to her family for sharing with us a good 
woman. I look forward to continuing working with her in her new role. I 
think I speak again for my colleagues--Democratic and Republican--on 
the committee and in the Senate. We look forward to continuing to work 
with her in this new role she will play, if she is confirmed here in a 
few seconds. We want to make sure that in that role, she will ensure 
that EPA's enforcement office remains an indispensable and credible cop 
on the beat.
  With that, Mr. President, I yield back my time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Kansas.
  Mr. MORAN. Mr. President, I yield back our time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. All time is yielded back.
  The question is, Will the Senate advise and consent to the Bodine 
  The nomination was confirmed.

[[Page S7910]]

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the motion to 
reconsider is considered made and laid upon the table and the President 
will be immediately notified of the Senate's action.
  The Senator from Kansas.