Floor Speech

Date: May 5, 2022
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. MANCHIN. Mr. President, 2 days ago, it was my unhappy task to notify the Senate that the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources had deadlocked on another nomination and on 3 important public land bills, with all 10 Democratic members voting for each bill and all 10 Republican members voting against them.

I strongly believe that the Senate works best when we work together, find common ground, and reach a consensus and that we fail the American people when we don't.

So it is with great pleasure that I come to the floor today to speak on the nomination of Dr. Kathryn Huff to be the Assistant Secretary of Energy for Nuclear Energy. I am very pleased to say that Dr. Huff's nomination is one thing Democrats and Republicans on the committee agree with completely. We reported her nomination last week without a single dissenting vote. I urge my colleagues, Democrats and Republicans alike, to vote to confirm her today.

My friend John Barrasso is ranking member, and we work very close together, and this is one that we found total unanimity that she is the right person at the right time in the right place for this job.

Dr. Huff is extremely well qualified for this important position. She has the academic training as a physicist and in nuclear engineering. She holds degrees in physics from the University of Chicago and nuclear engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has extensive postgraduate experience as a research assistant at Argonne and the Idaho National Laboratories and as a postdoctoral fellow at Berkeley. She has extensive professional experience as a professor at the University of Illinois for 5 years before joining the Department of Energy.

She joined the Department of Energy a year ago as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy. She served as the Acting Assistant Secretary for nearly a year prior to her nomination. She has very clearly demonstrated her ability to handle the job through her performance as the Deputy and Acting Assistant Secretary over this past year. She also showed her firm grasp of nuclear issues facing the Department at her confirmation hearing.

In short, Dr. Huff has earned the strong bipartisan endorsement of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. I urge all Senators to vote to confirm her today. It shows that when we get the right person who is qualified for the job, basically, we will come together.

I would advise any administration to look deeply at the person you are bringing before us to make sure they fit those requirements. This is a carbon copy of what I would continue to find--people such as Dr. Huff to fill these very, very, very important jobs. It takes that type of dedication, but it takes the type of knowledge and experience that Dr. Huff has.

I urge total adoption of this by all Members of our Senate, 100 of us.