WASHINGTON – The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee – led by Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., and Ranking Member Susan Collins, R-Me., Wednesday reported out the nomination of Jane Holl Lute to be Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security by a vote of 14-1, including six members who voted by proxy.

The Committee also reported out the nomination of M. John Berry to be Director, Office of Personnel Management by a unanimous voice vote and H.R. 35, the Presidential Records Act Amendments of 2009, also by voice vote.

“I am particularly impressed by Jane Holl Lute’s leadership and management experience, in a career dedicated to public service,” Lieberman said. “She has an impressive educational and professional background, with broad national security and management experience that has been invaluable in preparing her for this position. I believe she is exceptionally qualified to take on the missions and challenges facing DHS.”

The Committee also approved S. 615, legislation introduced by Collins and cosponsored by Senators Lieberman, Coburn, Senators Carl Levin, D-Mich., Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., John McCain, R-Ariz., and George Voinovich, R-Ohio, to provide additional personnel authorities for the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).

“The SIGAR is charged with conducting independent and objective audits, inspections, and investigations of the $32 billion in humanitarian and reconstruction assistance the U.S. has provided to Afghanistan since 2001,” Collins said. “Staffing shortages, however, have constrained the SIGAR’s oversight efforts. This bill would provide the SIGAR with the authority to quickly select, appoint, and employ the experienced, well-qualified staff needed to perform effective oversight of Afghanistan reconstruction efforts.”

H.R. 35, the Presidential Records Act Amendments of 2009 was adopted after the Committee accepted a substitute amendment offered by Lieberman. The bill would support the Executive Order made on President Obama’s first full day in office and ensure the timely public release of presidential records after a president has left office. The substitute extends the period in which the records being prepared for public release are reviewed by both the incumbent and former president, from no more than 40 days to no more than 90 days to allow for a more thorough review. The substitute also clarifies the process by which former presidents claim privilege over their records

“I believe this bill is a tribute to freedom of information and the timely release of materials essential to self-governance,” Lieberman said. “Presidential records have shaped in innumerable ways the understanding Americans have in how their government works and how the critical decisions of state are made.”

In other action, the Committee approved en bloc:

• S. 615, a bill to provide additional personnel authorities for the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction;
, Non-Foreign Area Retirement Equity Assurance Act of 2009;
S. 713, FEMA Accountability Act of 2009;
• S. 574, the Plain Writing Act of 2009; and
S. Res. 87, a resolution expressing the sense of the Senate that public servants should be commended for their dedication and continued service to the Nation during Public Service Recognition Week, May 4 through 10, 2009.