Brown, Portman Lead Ohio Delegation Letter Urging the FAA to Support Ohio Remote Tower Innovation Program

Source: United States Senator for Ohio Sherrod Brown

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH), along with Representatives Joyce Beatty (D-OH-3), Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH-16), Tim Ryan (D-OH-13), Steve Chabot (R-OH-1), Michael R. Turner (R-OH-10), Bill Johnson (R-OH-6), David P. Joyce (R-OH-14), Brad Wenstrup (R-OH-2), Robert E. Latta (R-OH-5), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH-9), Troy Balderson (R-OH-12), Bob Gibbs (R-OH-7), and Warren Davidson (R-OH-8), sent a letter urging Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Steve Dickson to support the Ohio Remote Tower (R-TWR) Innovation Program. This program would enable greater integration between aircraft and emerging technologies, including drones and autonomous vehicles, and enable the state to serve as an FAA test bed for integrating new technologies into the National Airspace System (NAS).

“We believe that in addition to innovation, the R-TWR program will provide economic opportunities which support the FAA’s workforce development plans.   Universities and technical schools would develop future controllers, pilots, and maintenance technicians, expanding the national aviation workforce,” wrote the lawmakers. “The program would also enhance the safety of pilot and air traffic control training by utilizing a controlled tower environment.”

Full text of the letter can be found below and here.

July 30, 2021

Administrator Steve Dickson

Federal Aviation Administration

800 Independence Avenue, SW

Washington, D.C. 20591

Dear Administrator Dickson:

We write in support of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) strategic plan to accelerate and expand the deployment of innovative technologies that will enhance the safety and performance of the nation’s aviation systems, including those in Ohio. The Ohio Remote Tower (R-TWR) Innovation Program would enable greater integration between aircraft and emerging technologies, including drones and autonomous vehicles. The R-TWR, together with Ohio’s long tradition of proving and demonstrating aviation technologies, would enable the state to serve as an FAA test bed for integrating new technologies into the National Airspace System (NAS). We urge the FAA to continue its critical support for the remote tower program.

The fiscal year 2021 omnibus appropriations bill included $19 million in the FAA’s Facilities and Equipment account for the Enterprise, Concept Development, Human Factors, and Demonstrations Portfolio. As you consider the demonstration of innovative technology, we urge you to consider the programs that have been developed by the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and its state partners. In addition to R-TWR, these programs include Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL), workforce development (for controllers, pilots, and maintenance technicians), and other emerging areas. In undertaking these programs, Ohio can serve as an FAA test bed for developing and proving these innovative technologies for the NAS.

This ODOT initiative, in partnership with Ohio-based universities, the state economic development organization, and other stakeholders, will provide several benefits that align with FAA’s strategic initiatives for laying the foundation for the aerospace system of the future. One major element is the creation of an ecosystem to support the research, testing, and deployment of VTOL aircraft in support of the commercial market for advanced air mobility vehicles. It will also support the demonstration of R-TWR applications at multiple airport sites through a centralized facility. This technology has the potential to improve equitable access for more advanced airport operations at both smaller and rural airports.

We believe that in addition to innovation, the R-TWR program will provide economic opportunities which support the FAA’s workforce development plans.   Universities and technical schools would develop future controllers, pilots, and maintenance technicians, expanding the national aviation workforce. The program would also enhance the safety of pilot and air traffic control training by utilizing a controlled tower environment.

We believe the State of Ohio is well-positioned to serve as a partner with the FAA, and we stand ready to work with your agency in developing and proving new and emerging technologies for the NAS. We ask that you communicate directly with ODOT, and keep our offices informed as you move forward on your strategic initiatives to accelerate the deployment of these innovative technologies.  

Sincerely,

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Brown Secures Provisions to Create Jobs Repairing and Rebuilding Ohio Bridges, With American Steel & Materials with Strongest-Ever Buy America Rules

Source: United States Senator for Ohio Sherrod Brown

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today announced that the Senate’s bipartisan infrastructure bill will include his Bridge Investment Act and his Build America Buy America Act, two bills he has led for years to create and support jobs in Ohio communities, and make local economies more competitive. The Bridge Investment Act would provide significant funding to repair and replace nationally and regionally significant bridges, like the Brent Spence Bridge. Brown’s Build America Buy America Act would apply strong Buy America rules to all taxpayer-funded infrastructure and public works projects – to ensure American taxpayer dollars support American jobs. Brown worked with his colleagues to ensure his two bills were included in the bipartisan infrastructure bill.

The bill text is being finalized now and is expected to be voted on this week. Brown will continue fighting for final passage of the package with these bills included, as well as several other provisions to upgrade critical infrastructure like broadband, waterways, and public transit—all without raising taxes on working families.

“Rebuilding Ohio bridges and infrastructure with American-made steel and products will create jobs and make our communities more competitive. Ohio has more than 3,200 bridges that need to be repaired or replaced to make them safer and reduce congestion – and Ohio communities can’t shoulder this cost alone,” said Brown. “This investment in Ohio, combined with my strong Buy America provisions, is a recipe for job creation in every region of our state, and will ensure Ohio tax dollars support Ohio businesses and good-paying, Ohio jobs that cannot be shipped overseas.”

More specifically:

Brown’s Bridge Investment Act, which will provide $12.5 billion in funding to repair and replace nationally and regionally significant bridges, like the Brent Spence Bridge in Ohio—part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act’s historic investment.  The package also provides Ohio $9.8 billion of formula funding to repair, replace, and upgrade roads and bridges throughout the state.

  • Brown’s legislation will establish a competitive grant program to assist with the repair and replacement of deficient and outdated bridges and ease the national bridge repair backlog.
  • Brown has been pushing for this legislation since 2019.
  • This will provide the funding necessary to replace bridges like the Brent Spence, which carries 3 percent of the nation’s GDP every day.
  • The Brent Spence will immediately be eligible for grant assistance, and Brown has vowed to ensure this bridge is a top priority in this new program. Brown’s bridge program will provide a grant agreement to fund half of the Brent Spence replacement, with new formula funding to Ohio and Kentucky providing additional support to the project. 
  • Brown’s legislation and the additional formula in the bipartisan bill will accelerate aid to Ohio’s 3,200 bridges that need repairs. The 2020 American Society of Civil Engineers’ Report Card for America’s Infrastructure found there are at least 46,154 bridges in the U.S. that are ‘structurally deficient’ and 231,000 still need repair and preservation work.

Brown’s Build America Buy America Act will apply strong Buy America rules to all taxpayer-funded infrastructure and public works projects:

  • While these promises were not fulfilled during the Trump presidency, Brown continued fighting for American workers, and reintroduced the bill again earlier this year.
  • President Biden’s recent executive action has strengthened Buy America rules, but until Brown’s legislation is enacted, Buy America will not be fully implemented with respect to all federal programs that provide grants for the construction of infrastructure. This means American-made iron, steel, and manufactured products were required for some infrastructure projects, but not all. When Chinese- or Russian- made steel and other products are used instead of American products, it steals jobs from U.S. workers.
  • Brown’s legislation will implement Buy America rules across the board – ensuring that American taxpayer dollars are used to purchase American-made products for all federally funded infrastructure projects – closing loopholes and securing major investment in American-made iron, steel, and manufactured products.

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Brown Announces $7 Million to Restore Cuyahoga River and Protect Aquatic Habitats

Source: United States Senator for Ohio Sherrod Brown

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Great Lakes Program has awarded $7,000,000 to the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) to restore fish passage, enhance ecologically beneficial habitat, and stabilize streambanks by removing the concrete flume and applying a raised-bed approach along the main stem of West Creek. The funding will be used to stabilize 3,500 linear feet of West Creek within the Cuyahoga River Area of Concern, restoring four acres of aquatic and terrestrial habitat. This funding was made possible through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), which was reauthorized for another five years with authorized funding for the program increased from $300 million annually to $475 million annually by fiscal year 2026 thanks to legislation that Brown introduced.

“The Cuyahoga River has come a long way to become the vibrant ecosystem that it is today. But we must continue to work to keep it clean and safe,” said Brown. “This project will improve conditions for the river’s aquatic life, but it’s just one piece of a comprehensive strategy to restore habitats in the Lake Erie basin. I’ll work to ensure continued wastewater investments in cities like Cleveland, smarter farming practices, and a commitment by all stakeholders to be better stewards of our environment.”

“Over the past 50 years, the Sewer District and the people of northeast Ohio have made considerable sewer and stormwater investments in our local waterways. These investments have led to significantly improved water quality, including in the Cuyahoga River, resulting in the return of several fish species and the restoration of this amazing resource,” said Kyle Dreyfuss-Wells, CEO of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District. “We’re excited to continue that work through the West Creek Flume Spillway project, which will protect fish and wildlife in the Cuyahoga Area of Concern, and are grateful to United States EPA, Region 5, for providing much needed funding for this initiative.”

GLRI is a results-driven program, and this funding ensures that it has the resources it needs to address the most serious issues that threaten the ecological and economic wellbeing of the Great Lakes basin, including invasive species, pollution, and toxic contamination.

Brown has worked to secure important wins for Ohio’s fresh water through legislation and by speaking out against harmful proposals that threaten the health of Ohio’s lakes and rivers.

Brown helped secure investments for Ohio water infrastructure projects as part of the Water Resources Development Act of 2020 (WRDA 2020). WRDA 2020 invests in key water infrastructure projects to be studied, planned and developed by the Corps, including our nation’s ports, inland waterways, locks, dams, flood and coastal storm protection and ecosystem restoration.

Brown secured $320 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) in the 2020 appropriations package. Brown also spoke out against the President’s 2021 budget, which would Cut USDA conservation programs that help improve water quality in Lake Erie. Brown and Portman worked together to ensure GLRI was not only reinstated but also fully funded after President Trump proposed eliminating the program in 2018.

Brown was also able to include several provisions in the 2018 Farm Bill to protect Lake Erie and Ohio Waterways. The final bill includes provisions from Brown’s bipartisan Give Our Resources the Opportunity to Work (GROW) Actwhich will better utilize existing federal conservation programs to protect waterways and expand access to quality farmland.

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Heinrich, Luján Welcome $4.7 Million To Combat Opioid Overdose Epidemic

Source: US Senator for New Mexico Ben Ray Luján

WASHINGTON (Aug. 2, 2021) – U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) announced that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has awarded $4,714,005 to the New Mexico Department of Health to combat the opioid overdose epidemic. In 2019, opioid overdose-related deaths accounted for 45% of all drug overdose deaths in New Mexico, which is 41% higher than the national average.

The funding is part of the CDC’s Overdose Data to Action program, that focuses on the complex and changing nature of the opioid overdose epidemic and highlights the need for an interdisciplinary, comprehensive, and cohesive public health approach.

“The opioid epidemic has left too many New Mexicans with the heavy burden of seeking treatment and recovery resources – many that are too often underfunded,” said Heinrich, a member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations. “I’m proud to welcome this much-needed federal funding. I will keep fighting to ensure every New Mexican who needs it can access addiction treatment services and lifesaving care.”

“Far too many families in New Mexico know firsthand how the opioid epidemic has impacted our communities,” said Luján, a member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. “These much-needed investments will bolster addiction treatment and care for those seeking treatment. I will continue advocating for innovative solutions to address this crisis and protect the health of New Mexicans.”

The funding will help New Mexico strengthen surveillance and prevention measures across the state that include utilization of department data on opioids, supporting interventions, prescription drug monitoring programs, and improving provider and health system support.

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Boozman, Cotton, Colleagues Introduce Bill to Uphold Navigable Waters Protection Rule

Source: United States Senator for Arkansas – John Boozman

WASHINGTON–U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) joined their colleagues to introduce legislation to protect Arkansas’s farmers, small businesses and property owners by codifying the 2020 Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR).

With the Biden Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) promising to replace the NWPR with a new rule that goes even further than the Obama-era Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule, this legislation is needed now more than ever. If the NWPR is replaced, the EPA could go as far as to regulate ditches on private lands and converted croplands, which could ultimately inflict severe harm upon the agriculture, construction, home building, forestry, mining and energy sectors of our economy. 

“As we repeatedly reminded the Obama administration, giving the federal government the authority to control virtually every ditch, pond and puddle on private land in Arkansas and nationwide is unlawful and will have terrible consequences. Now the Biden administration is determined to follow the same playbook,” Boozman said. “The current Navigable Waters Protection Rule provides a clear, commonsense framework that allows state and local governments to protect waters within their jurisdiction rather than empowering federal bureaucrats to issue arbitrary decisions that breed uncertainty and upend livelihoods. Our bill will safeguard Arkansans against this power grab by maintaining the existing reasonable rule.”

“The Navigable Water Protection rule preserves our waterways while respecting the livelihoods of farmers and the rights of private landowners. They can’t afford a return to the heavy-handed WOTUS rule of the Obama-era—and we won’t allow it. Our bill will protect clean water and America’s agriculture producers by letting the Navigable Water Protection Rule stand,” Cotton said.

The bill was sponsored by Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Senators Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Richard Shelby (R-AL), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John Barrasso (R-WY), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Jim Risch (R-ID), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Richard Burr (R-NC), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Steve Daines (R-MT), Tim Scott (R-SC), James Lankford (R-OK), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Ben Sasse (R-NE), John Hoeven (R-ND), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) joined Boozman and Cotton in cosponsoring the measure.

Click here to read the bill text.

BACKGROUND:

In 2015, the Obama administration finalized a rule that expanded the definition of the Waters of the United States, creating confusion and burdensome red tape for farmers and ranchers, developers and property owners.

The Trump administration released a proposed rule to replace the Obama administration’s 2015 WOTUS rule that provided much-needed predictability and certainty for farmers by establishing a clear and reasonable definition of what qualifies as a “Water of the United States.” The NWPR was finalized last year. Specifically, it established a definition that unambiguously identifies four simple categories of jurisdictional waters, provides clear exclusions for many water features —water features that traditionally have not been regulated at the federal level — and defines terms in the regulatory text that have never been defined before. The NWPR also protects the environment while respecting the cooperative federalism framework of the Clean Water Act by clearly delineating where federal regulations apply and giving states and local authorities more flexibility to determine how to best manage waters within their borders.

On day one of his administration, President Biden signed an executive order rolling back the Trump administration’s action to rescind Obama’s WOTUS rule and finalize the NWPR. In January, Boozman, Cotton and Ranking Member Capito, along with 23 of their Senate colleagues, introduced a resolution that expresses the need for the U.S. Senate to uphold the NWPR. In June, Boozman and the other GOP members of the EPW Committee wrote a letter to the EPA questioning the basis for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to repeal and replace the 2020 Trump-era Navigable Waters Protection Rule.

Daines Introduces Bill to Provide Certainty for Montana Farmers, Ranchers

Source: United States Senator for Montana Steve Daines

08.02.21

U.S. SENATE– U.S. Senator Steve Daines introduced a bill to maintain President Trump’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR) and prevent a return to burdensome regulations like those imposed by the Obama-Biden Waters of the U.S. Rule (WOTUS), which threatened Montana farmers and ranchers.

“Montana farmers and ranchers are longstanding stewards of our lands and waterways—they shouldn’t be burdened with more bureaucratic red-tape that would allow the federal government to regulate every pond, puddle, or ditch,” Daines said. 

Read the bill text HERE.

Background:

Senator Daines has been a strong supporter of the NWPR and has often spoken out against the far-reaching, burdensome federal regulations imposed by the 2015 Waters of the United States rule (WOTUS).

On July 12, Daines sent a letter to the Biden administration, urging them to uphold the NWPR.

Earlier this year, Daines introduced a Senate resolution expressing the sense of the Senate that the NWPR should not be repealed.

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Contact: Katherine McKeoghKatie Schoettler



Bennet, King, Portman Secure Historic Broadband Investments in Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

Source: United States Senator for Colorado Michael Bennet

Washington, D.C.  – Today, U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Angus King (I-Maine), and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) hailed the historic broadband investment in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which mirrors the bipartisan BRIDGE Act they introduced earlier this year. If passed, this would be the largest federal broadband investment in U.S. history.

IIJA provides $65 billion for broadband, over $40 billion of which goes to states via block grants as the senators proposed in the BRIDGE Act. It also includes $2 billion for broadband service on Tribal lands, which the senators proposed in their original bill. IIJA also adapts the BRIDGE Act’s provisions to require new networks to meet minimum quality standards and provide at least one tier of affordable service, while prioritizing even faster, future-proof networks. As in the BRIDGE Act, states would have broad flexibility to close the digital divide based on their local needs, from deploying new high-speed networks to promoting broadband affordability and adoption.  

“The bipartisan infrastructure bill will make the largest ever broadband investment in American history, and I am beyond gratified that it draws heavily on my BRIDGE Act with Senators King and Portman,” said Bennet. “This historic investment will extend the promise of high-speed broadband to students, workers, farmers, and small businesses across the country, driving opportunity, transforming communities, and allowing millions more people to fully participate in modern American life. I want to thank my colleagues and co-sponsors Senators King and Portman. We would never have made it this far without their tremendous leadership and partnership.”

“The coronavirus pandemic has made it clear that broadband is essential infrastructure – which is why the Senate’s bipartisan infrastructure bill includes the largest-ever investment in broadband,” said King. “The bipartisan legislation includes $65 billion to support broadband deployment and help extend the internet’s opportunities to every corner of our country, so Americans of all backgrounds can fully participate in work, connect to remote and in-school learning, and access healthcare regardless where they live. access the connectivity they need to work, learn, shop, and more. I’m particularly thrilled that of that $65 billion, over $40 billion will go directly to states through block grants, reflecting my bipartisan proposal with Senators Bennet and Portman. These funds will increase broadband connectivity, affordability, and speeds for millions of Americans, while prioritizing the resilient, future-proof infrastructure that we need. This is a proud day, which will create enormous possibilities as more American communities get the tools they need to compete in the 21st century economy.”

“I’m pleased key pieces of this important legislation are included in the bipartisan infrastructure agreement. Too many rural and low-income communities in Ohio and across the U.S. lack affordable and reliable access to broadband,” said Portman. “By helping underserved areas rapidly gain broadband access, this historic piece of bipartisan legislation takes significant steps to finally close the digital divide.”

The historic broadband investment in IIJA builds on Senator Bennet’s longtime leadership to ensure access to affordable, high-speed broadband for every American. Earlier this year, he led a bipartisan letter to the Biden Administration’s top officials for federal broadband policy with Senators Angus King (I-Maine), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) urging the Biden administration to raise and align broadband speeds and standards across the federal government. In March, Bennet helped to secure more than $7 billion for the FCC’s E-Rate program in the American Jobs Plan to connect low-income students online. Last June, Bennet also co-sponsored the Emergency Broadband Connections Act, which passed as part of the 2020 end-of-year relief bill and will now provide $3.2 billion to help economically distressed Americans afford broadband connections.

Durbin: Judiciary Committee Will Not Entertain Bad-Faith Efforts To Derail Chipman’s Nomination

Source: United States Senator for Illinois Dick Durbin

08.02.21

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today pressed back on a letter he received from Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee seeking a second hearing on the nomination of David Chipman to be Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).  In his response, Durbin called out the request for what it is: the latest in a series of efforts meant to undermine Chipman’s nomination and tarnish his reputation.

“From the moment that President Biden nominated Mr. Chipman—a 25-year law enforcement veteran—to lead ATF, Senate Republicans and opponents of commonsense gun safety measures have launched vitriolic, baseless attacks against this highly credentialed nominee,” wrote Durbin.

Durbin’s letter continued: “Mr. Chipman is a decent, honest, and conscientious public servant. He and his family have endured attacks that no nominee should endure, including death threats. Yet through it all, he has remained committed to accepting this role. That commitment speaks volumes about Mr. Chipman’s character and his dedication to the ATF, its mission, and the men and women who serve the agency every day.”

The ATF has been without a Senate-confirmed Director since 2015.  In June, the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced Mr. Chipman’s nomination with a vote of 11-11, with every Committee Democrat voting “aye.”  Under the provisions of S. Res. 27, Leader Schumer may now file a discharge motion on Mr. Chipman’s nomination to place him on the executive calendar.

Full text of today’s letter is available here and below:

August 2, 2021

Dear Senators:

I write in response to your request for a second hearing on David Chipman’s nomination to serve as Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). Sadly, this request is just the latest in a string of efforts meant to unfairly derail Mr. Chipman’s nomination and tarnish his record and reputation.

From the moment that President Biden nominated Mr. Chipman—a 25-year law enforcement veteran—to lead ATF, Senate Republicans and opponents of commonsense gun safety measures have launched vitriolic, baseless attacks against this highly credentialed nominee. Given the history of ATF nominations—only one nominee has ever been confirmed by the Senate to lead the agency since the position of Director was made subject to Senate confirmation—Mr. Chipman no doubt knew that his nomination path would be treacherous. But no one—least of all a nominee who has dedicated his life to combating illegal gun trafficking and protecting the men and women of law enforcement—deserves the kind of treatment that Mr. Chipman has had to endure.

Consider the following examples. Opponents of Mr. Chipman’s nomination circulated an image of an armed agent in the aftermath of the raid of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, claiming that the image depicted Chipman. It did not.

Those working to sink Mr. Chipman claimed he misplaced his service weapon as an ATF agent. He did not.

And some Republicans in the Senate have claimed Mr. Chipman has called for the arrest of individuals before they commit crimes. Once again, this is patently false. In reality, Mr. Chipman argued that individuals who lie on federal background check forms in order to obtain a gun should be prosecuted for doing so. That is called enforcing the law—it is in fact a crime to lie on background check forms.

Now comes the latest salvo—a claim published by an anti-gun safety website, allegedly based on the accounts of two anonymous individuals, that Mr. Chipman had made racially discriminatory remarks when he served at ATF.

As with the other claims manufactured by Mr. Chipman’s opponents, there is no evidence to support these allegations. Committee staff from both sides of the aisle reviewed Mr. Chipman’s extensive background investigation. After that review, both sides “cleared” the background investigation and agreed that Mr. Chipman’s nomination should proceed to a hearing. Moreover, in response to a Question for the Record (QFR) submitted by Senator Cruz, Mr. Chipman acknowledged receiving two Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaints, both of which he notes “were resolved without any finding of discrimination.”

The letter also raises questions about Mr. Chipman’s “effectiveness as a leader.” But Mr. Chipman’s career at ATF makes clear that he was an effective leader, as demonstrated by the support he has received from numerous former ATF agents, who, unlike the anonymous sources your letter cites, have come forward publicly. Criticism on extreme anti-gun safety websites of Mr. Chipman’s ATF tenure appears to simply be another part of the orchestrated effort by the far right to oppose Mr. Chipman by any means necessary.

In this age of the Big Lie, does evidence count for anything?

Mr. Chipman is a decent, honest, and conscientious public servant. He and his family have endured attacks that no nominee should endure, including death threats. Yet through it all, he has remained committed to accepting this role. That commitment speaks volumes about Mr. Chipman’s character and his dedication to the ATF, its mission, and the men and women who serve the agency every day.

The Committee will not hold a second hearing on Mr. Chipman’s nomination based on baseless allegations by anonymous sources published in venues with an obvious agenda. ATF needs a Senate-confirmed leader, and Mr. Chipman is well-qualified and has been extensively vetted for the role. He deserves to be confirmed. And it is my fervent hope that Committee Republicans will quit embracing anonymously-sourced efforts to smear Mr. Chipman.

Sincerely,

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Durbin: Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal Makes Smart And Necessary Investments In America

Source: United States Senator for Illinois Dick Durbin

08.02.21

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today spoke on the Senate floor about the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal. The deal is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to re-build our nation’s roads, railways, transit, and bridges; to make high-speed internet and clean water a reality for every household in America; and to create millions of good-paying, family-supporting union jobs across the country.  The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal is currently being debated on the Senate floor.

“It includes the largest investment in American bridges since the creation of the interstate highway system. Imagine that. It also includes the largest investment in clean water infrastructure ever,” Durbin said. “Is it the largest investment in public transit in American history…this infrastructure plan will keep America’s economy moving and our shipping lanes open by modernizing our ports, locks, and dams. We are not just repairing, we are building new infrastructure. This includes the largest investment in clean energy infrastructure in America’s history.”

Durbin also spoke about the historic investments the deal makes to build resilient infrastructure.

“This plan will help us protect America’s infrastructure, our economy, and American families from 21st century threats of climate change, extreme weather, and cyberattacks. It is the largest investment in resilience of physical and natural systems in American history. With this plan, we can create thousands of good-paying, family-supporting jobs, and a majority of these jobs may not require a college degree,” Durbin said. “These are smart, prudent, necessary investments that will pay dividends for years to come.”

Video of Durbin’s floor speech is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s floor speech is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s floor speech is available here for TV Stations.

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Senate Confirms Ur Jaddou To Lead USCIS

Source: United States Senator for Illinois Dick Durbin

08.02.21

With confirmation, Ms. Jaddou becomes the first woman to lead USCIS

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Senate confirmed Ur Jaddou to be Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) by a vote of 47-34.  Ahead of the confirmation vote, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, spoke in support of Ms. Jaddou’s nomination on the Senate floor.

“Ms. Jaddou may be the most qualified person ever to be nominated for this job.  She has nearly 20 years experience in immigration law, policy, and administration.  She’s a daughter of immigrants from Mexico and Iraq.  She personally understands the importance of ensuring our nation’s immigration system is both accessible and safe,” said Durbin.  “Given the urgent need for Senate confirmed leadership to address the critical issues they [USCIS] face, as well as Ms. Jaddou’s eminent qualification for that position, I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting her nomination.”

Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here for TV Stations.

Last month, the Judiciary Committee advanced Ms. Jaddou’s nomination out of Committee with a vote of 11-10.

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