WASHINGTON—The nominations of Richard Serino to be Deputy Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Daniel Werfel to be Controller of the Office of Federal Financial Management in the Office of Management and Budget were approved by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Tuesday.  The Committee, led by Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., and Ranking Member Susan Collins, R-Me., approved both by unanimous voice vote.

“I congratulate both Mr. Serino and Mr. Werfel on today’s Committee vote,” Lieberman said.  “They are both fine public servants who should be confirmed by the full Senate.  Mr. Serino will make a wonderful team with FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate as they continue to improve FEMA after its weaknesses were exposed in the response to Hurricane Katrina.  As Deputy Controller and Acting Controller, Mr. Werfel has demonstrated his commitment to improving the financial management of federal agencies and is a well-qualified choice to lead OMB’s efforts in this area.  Our nation would be well-served by a quick confirmation of both individuals.

Collins said the FEMA post was of critical importance, functioning as FEMA’s second-in-command.  “Mr. Serino, if confirmed, would join FEMA at a critical time,” she said.  “Today, as a result of changes from the Post-Katrina Reform Act and better leadership, our nation’s ability to prepare for and respond to disasters has improved dramatically.  Yet, challenges remain as the agency moves to implement all the reforms.  These range from improving FEMA’s management practices and strengthening FEMA’s regional offices to ensuring better collaboration with state and local officials.

“No matter what the hazard or the danger, our nation relies on FEMA to guide us through.  It is the agency we turn to for clear-headed direction, strong leadership, and coordinated action in the event of an emergency.  It also requires exceptional leaders at the helm and I am pleased to support Mr. Serino, who I believe has the skills, intellect and abilities to thrive in this vital job.  I urge the Senate to move to a quick confirmation vote so that Mr. Serino can get to work as soon as possible.

Both nominees must now go before the full Senate for final approval.