Senate Committee Hearing to consider Amtrak Board Nominees (June 2023)

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Sep 15, 2017
Note: mods may want to combine with another thread I opened on the Coscia petition but wanted to post details about the hearing itself.

U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, Chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, will convene a full committee nominations hearing on Wednesday, June 21, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. ET to consider nominations for the Amtrak Board of Directors and the National Transportation Safety Board.


Joel Matthew Szabat to be a Director of the Amtrak Board of Directors (PN13)
Anthony Rosario Coscia to be a Director of the Amtrak Board of Directors (PN14)
Christopher Koos to be a Director of the Amtrak Board of Directors (PN15)
Alvin Brown to be a Member of the National Transportation Safety Board (PN114)

Link to details including live stream:
Interestingly only 3 of the Amtrak picks are being considered at this time. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Tester freeze the three Amtrak choices since we still don’t really have a full slate that follows in the spirit of the infrastructure law.
RPA has a related petition:
It primarily focuses on the fact that the Biden Administration has chosen to ignore the Authorization Bill requirements placed on the Board structure and that there is no chance of the proposed candidates being approved until a full slate consistent with the Authorization requirements.

Interestingly, the block that has been placed by multiple Senators (bipartisan) cannot be unblocked by the partial slate being considered in the Senate Committee. So this all seems like a Kabuki Dance of sorts.

It is distressing to me to see how poorly the Amtrak Board issue is being handled by the present ostensibly Amtrak friendly administration.
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Apparently there is a deal in place to withdraw one of the Democratic board nominees from the NEC states - to be replaced be a pick from the Western United States. Tester has dropped his blockade on the nomination process and the Senate Committee will be voting to advance three of the candidates - Coscia, Koos (who is from Illinois,) and Szabat. Szabat is a GOP pick from one of the NEC states that reportedly the GOP senate leadership is standing firmly on so by convention the Biden admin is going to have to accept Szabat- given it sounds Coscia is moving forward the withdrawn nominee will likely be either Lathem, Capozzi, or Weismann who are all also from NEC states. Note that Lathem is the nominee from the organized labor community and Capozzi is the ADA advocacy pick which are also both requirements so if either of them withdrawn those requirements must be met with another future pick.