WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) – ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs – released the following opening statement at today’s hearing on the nominations to the Federal Transit Administration, the Department of Commerce and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

Brown’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, follow. 

Thank you, Chairman Crapo, for holding today’s hearing on the nominations of Thelma Drake, Jeffrey Nadaner, and Seth Appleton.  I look forward to hearing their views, and want to welcome their family and guests to the Committee.

Ms. Drake comes to us with a very important qualification: she was born and raised in Elyria, Ohio before moving to Virginia, raising a family, and entering public service. Her Ohio roots aside, I’m pleased she wants to bring her experience in Congress and at Virginia’s Department of Rail and Public Transportation to the Federal Transit Administration.  

Ohioans take more than 325,000 trips on public transportation every weekday. We need a strong federal partner to help transit riders enjoy a faster and safer ride to work or school.   

Unfortunately, the Administration’s record on transit is disappointing. Its past two budgets have proposed eliminating FTA’s Capital Investment Grants program and the multimodal TIGER program.  In the latest round of TIGER awards, DOT nearly eliminated transit projects from the program. 

The President’s infrastructure proposal was also a disappointment. It contains no stable funding for the Mass Transit Account, and we can’t rebuild our transportation infrastructure by passing the costs onto cities and counties through tolls and local tax hikes.  

Despite these disappointments, I want to work with the Administration and Republicans here in the Senate to advance an infrastructure package.   I look forward to hearing Ms. Drake’s priorities, including with respect to safety oversight. 

I also want to welcome Mr. Nadaner, the nominee for Commerce Assistant Secretary for Export Control Enforcement.

Given increasing efforts by Russia, China and others to steal sensitive technologies from U.S. companies, tough enforcement of our export control regime is critical.

That is especially true as the committee moves forward to reform CFIUS, which must be integrated with our export control system.

Finally, I’d like to welcome Mr. Appleton to the Committee.  If confirmed, he will help guide HUD’s research efforts, which provide data and evaluations to policy makers, researchers, practitioners, housing market participants, and the public.

We face many housing challenges as a nation, from our deep shortage of affordable housing, to our ongoing work to realize the promise of the Fair Housing Act after 50 years. 

Unbiased research can help us overcome these challenges and inform HUD’s daily operations, best practices in the field, and evidence-based policy.     

I look forward to hearing from Mr. Appleton about his approach to this critical function at HUD.

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