Senate Panel Approves Inman’s NTSB Nomination

The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee yesterday approved the nomination of Todd Inman to be a member of the National Transportation Safety Board, raising hopes that Inman and another NTSB nominee can be confirmed by the full Senate by the end of the month.

The Committee ordered Inman’s nomination to the NTSB favorably reported at a quick business meeting by a voice vote. His nomination has now been placed on the Senate Executive Calendar, where he is Number 447. He joins Alvin Brown (Number 251), who has been pending on the Calendar since July 12.

It is the longtime practice of the Senate, when considering nominations to boards and commissions that have political party balance requirements (a.k.a. no more than x number of the members can be from the same political party), the Senate will only move non-chairman nominees in pairs, one R and one D, so as to prevent a party imbalance. Inman is a Republican and Brown a Democrat, so we can be fairly certain that when the Senate returns next week, the behind-the-scenes process will begin to attempt a unanimous consent agreement to bring up the Inman and Brown nominations together and confirm them both.

Senate rules require that at the end of a session of Congress (under the Constitution, no later than January 3), all pending nominations get returned to the President, and even though the President is free to simply re-nominate everyone who got returned, they then have to to through committee again and get put back on the Calendar, and it is a gigantic waste of time and resources. Accordingly, the Senate usually negotiations a massive end-of-session  confirmation package of dozens of nominees that goes through on the last night of the session.

With that in mind, in addition to Inman and Brown, there are also several other transportation-related nominees currently pending on the Executive Calendar that might be part of a year-end package:

  • Amtrak Board of Directors – Tony Coscia (D), Christopher Koos (D), Joel Szabat (R)
  • Federal Maritime Commission – Rebecca Dye (R), Dan Maffei (D)

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