The Senate Commerce Committee has voted 14-13 along party lines to approve the nomination of AccuWeather co-founder and former CEO Barry Myers to become the next administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The nomination now moves to the full Senate.
“While he is clearly knowledgeable about our national weather program, I remain concerned about conflicts of interest due to his family connections with AccuWeather, whether they can and will be avoided,” Sen. Bill Nelson (Fla.), the panel’s top Democrat, said before the committee vote.
“It is imperative, if he is confirmed, that he demonstrate that he will approach this position as a public service role, not as another private sector role,” Nelson said, adding that he hopes Myers “will prove me wrong.”
Nelson’s objections to Myers included Myers’s support for a 2005 GOP bill that would have largely prohibited the National Weather Service from many consumer-facing functions that compete with private forecasters.
Senate Republicans said Myers had adequately addressed conflict of interest concerns during his confirmation hearing.