Holdren and Lubchenco Headed for Confirmation
By Juliet Eilperin
Two of Obama's top scientific advisers are a step closer to getting to work, now that the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation has unanimously confirmed their nominations.
Harvard physicist John Holdren, who is in line to head the White House Offiice of Science and Technology, and Oregon State University marine biologist Jane Lubchenco, up for chief of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, won approval from the panel yesterday afternoon. The two received a relatively friendly reception from the committee when they appeared before it last month, but ran into a snag when Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) threatened to block their nominations over an unrelated dispute concerning U.S. policy toward Cuba.
At this point, no Democrats are opposing the two scientists' appointments, and while it remains unclear when a vote will be held on their nominations, they appeared poised for confirmation. "Now that they have been reported out, we are trying to see if we can clear them as quickly as possible," said Jim Manley, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).
Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.) said he would push to ensure the two researchers take their posts as soon as possible.
"It is time to take science out of the laboratory and into our communities in order to help people understand how science impacts their everyday lives -- from clean air and water to fixing our rapidly declining economy," Rockefeller said. "Both individuals will serve this country and the taxpayers honorably; there is much work to be done and no time to waste."
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