Statements and Speeches
United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs
Feb 26 2013
Opening Statement of Chairman Thomas R. Carper
Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
February 26, 2013
The committee will come to order. I’d like to welcome everyone to the committee’s first business meeting of the 113th Congress, especially our Ranking Member, Dr. Coburn, and our new members – Senators Baldwin, Heitkamp, Enzi, and Ayotte.
This committee has a history of bipartisanship and cooperation that Dr. Coburn and I plan to continue. Our predecessors as Chairman and Ranking Member – Senators Lieberman and Collins – were a very successful and inclusive team. I’m confident that we can follow in their footsteps and get things done together.
I look forward to working with Dr. Coburn and the rest of the committee to continue the work that has been done over the past decade to improve our county’s ability to prevent, prepare for, and respond to terrorist attacks and natural disasters. I look forward as well to embarking on an aggressive governmental affairs agenda with an eye towards improving results and saving money across the federal government.
We’re meeting today to approve the committee budget and also the rules that we’ll be operating under for the next two years.
The committee’s funding resolution will support the activities of the committee and its four subcommittees through the end of the current fiscal year in September. The funding level is determined by the Rules Committee and provided to us.
Next, we will move to adopt the committee rules, which the committee is required under the Senate rules to do at the beginning of each Congress.
Senator Coburn and I have agreed to five rules changes which I’ll briefly discuss.
The first change would require that members of the committee be given official notice at least five, rather than three, business days before the committee holds a business meeting to consider nominations or legislation. This means that notice of our usual Wednesday morning business meetings would come the previous Wednesday rather than Friday, giving members and their staffs a full week to consider the proposed agenda.
The second change also touches on business meeting procedure and would require more notice of amendments members intend to offer to items on a business meeting agenda. For a Wednesday morning business meeting, amendments would be due Monday evening rather than Tuesday morning.
The third change would clarify the committee’s subpoena authority.
The fourth change would generally require the Chairman and Ranking Member to keep each other apprised of hearings, investigations, and other important committee business. Dr. Coburn and I have already agreed to operate the committee in this manner so this new rule would formalize that agreement.
5. Finally, the new rules create our three new subcommittees. The new subcommittees are: the Subcommittee on Federal Spending and Contracting Oversight, led by Senators McCaskill and Johnson; the Subcommittee on the Efficiency and Effective of Federal Programs and the Federal Workforce led by Senators Tester and Portman; and the Subcommittee on Emergency Management, Intergovernmental Relations, and the District of Columbia, led by Senator Begich and Paul. The current Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, led by Senators Levin and McCain, will remain unchanged.