U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, yesterday spoke on the Senate floor in support of the nomination of Mark Menezes to be Deputy Secretary of the Department of Energy. Murkowski spoke just before the Senate began a roll call vote on the motion to invoke cloture on Menezes’ nomination. That vote was successful – 78 to 14 – and a vote on final passage is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. EDT this morning.
Senator Murkowski’s Remarks
Mr. President, I’ve come to the floor this afternoon to encourage Senators to support the nomination that’s now pending before us, this is for Mark Menezes to be Deputy Secretary of the Department of Energy.
I’ve had plenty of opportunity to be working with Mr. Menezes as he has been within the Department of Energy for quite some time. He originally hails from Louisiana and he earned his undergrad and law degrees at Louisiana State University. He has, as I mentioned, considerable experience in the energy sector and here on Capitol Hill. He previously served as chief counsel for energy and environment on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, so he has been around for a period of time.
But more recently, for the past three years now, Mr. Menezes has served as the Department’s Under Secretary of Energy. And, in that role, he has been responsible for many programs that help drive the innovation within the Department, including for renewable energy as well as nuclear energy. Mr. Menezes also helped create the Department’s cybersecurity office, which is dedicated to protecting our energy infrastructure from what have become very sophisticated and near-constant threats.
As members will recall, the Senate confirmed Mr. Menezes to his current role by voice vote. I believe he has excelled as the Under Secretary of Energy. He’s helped to set the policy direction of the Department. He’s worked with many of us on issues that are important to our states and to the country as a whole.
I’m also confident that Mr. Menezes will be a great second-in-command for Secretary Brouillette. We held Mr. Menezes’ nomination hearing back on May 20 – this was our first hearing that we had held after several months lost due to the pandemic – Mr. Menezes did, not surprisingly, very, very well. He demonstrated his knowledge of the issues, he showed us that he understands what it takes to help lead the Department, and that enabled us to report his nomination to the full Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support.
So, we’re sitting here now, it’s been nearly a two-month delay, and I’m very pleased that we are about to vote on Mr. Menezes’ nomination. It is really key, it is very important that Secretary Brouillette have his leadership team in place, and Mr. Menezes has demonstrated that he has the knowledge and experience needed to succeed as Deputy Secretary.
I appreciate, and I’ve shared this with Mr. Menezes, I appreciate his willingness to serve our country in a new and a higher capacity, particularly as we seek to harness the Department’s capabilities to overcome and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
So, I thank the Majority Leader for bringing up his nomination; I would urge every member to vote in favor of—on cloture today, and on confirmation tomorrow.
Murkowski is Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which held a hearing to consider Menezes’ nomination on May 20 and favorably reported it to the full Senate by voice vote on June 9.