Mary Landrieu to keep her hold on Jack Lew's OMB nomination
Updated 5:47 p.m. ET
A swift confirmation of President Obama's choice to lead the Office of Management and Budget appears unlikely as a Democratic senator said Wednesday she will maintain a hold on the nomination.
With lawmakers set to leave town for the midterm recess, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) will keep her hold on Jacob J. Lew's nomination as OMB director because of the Obama administration's "ill-conceived moratoria on offshore drilling that are having such a devastating impact on working people and small businesses through the Gulf Coast," she said.
"The administration, for whatever reason, has stood in defiance of our federal courts and disregarded economists, experts and its own economic data in proceeding down a path that is putting thousands of people out of work and hurting the bottom line of hundreds of small businesses," Landrieu said in a statement.
The administration issued a six-month moratorium shortly after the BP Deepwater Horizon explosion on April 20. It is set to expire on Nov. 30. Administration officials have hinted the temporary ban could end by early October.
Lew's nomination "is an issue separate and distinct from the issue of offshore oil exploration," OMB spokesman Kenneth Baer said in response to Landrieu. "While valuable time already has been expended, the Senate should take up the nomination of Jack Lew as soon as possible so the president has his team in place to deal with our serious fiscal situation and the tough job of crafting a budget for the next fiscal year."
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar met Tuesday with Landrieu and told her he will make a decision on ending the moratorium "independently, at his own pace, with the goal of creating a gold standard for worker safety, drilling safety, and environmental protection," according to the Interior Department.
"Oil and gas companies need to meet the new standards for safety and environmental compliance if they are going to be allowed to develop in U.S. waters," Interior said in a statement.
Landrieu last week placed a hold on Lew's nomination shortly after he earned favorable votes from the Senate budget and governmental affairs committees.
Lew is one of dozens of nominees still awaiting an up or down Senate vote, including Obama's picks to lead the Marine Corps and the Federal Reserve. Aides anticipate votes on at least a few of of the nominees later Thursday.
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| September 29, 2010; 5:20 PM ET
Categories: Confirmation Hearings, Congress
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