Chu confirmed unanimously as Energy Secretary

One of the best cabinet picks in recent memory takes his job today (see Top 5 reasons Chu is a great energy pick — #1: “It’s not guaranteed we have a solution for coal”).

As E&E News PM (subs req’d) reports:

The Senate unanimously confirmed seven of President Barack Obama’s Cabinet picks today, including Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, but postponed debate on his nominees to lead the State Department, U.S. EPA and White House Council on Environmental Quality.

In a post-inauguration session, the Senate quickly approved Chu, Salazar, Vilsack, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki and Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag.

A few nominations have hitches:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) also scheduled a 3 p.m. roll call vote for tomorrow on Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), Obama’s nominee to be secretary of the State Department. Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn objected earlier today to Reid’s plan for unanimous consent approval on Clinton, citing concerns over former President Bill Clinton’s fundraising activities.

“This is not an effort to scuttle or block the nomination, but a legitimate policy difference,” Cornyn spokesman Kevin McLaughlin told The New York Times. “Senator Cornyn’s goal is to create transparency on all levels of government.”

The Senate did not take up two other Obama nominations: Lisa Jackson to be the next EPA administrator and Nancy Sutley to be the chairwoman of the White House CEQ. Both nominees did not face significant scrutiny during their confirmation hearings last week, leaving several Senate Republican and Democratic leadership aides today searching for answers about who was holding up the two Obama environmental picks.

“We confirmed who we could today,” Reid spokesman Jim Manley said in an e-mail.

Andrew Wheeler, Republican staff director for the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said ranking member James Inhofe (R-Okla.) supports both nominees and isn’t sure who raised the objection to Jackson and Sutley’s confirmations, though he said the objection to Sutley being confirmed today was because her position is not Cabinet-level.

3 Responses to Chu confirmed unanimously as Energy Secretary

  1. David B. Benson says:

    Nancy Sutley is not exactly the best choice, IMO. She’s a Friedmanism defender.

  2. Ronald says:

    I saw this on the web.

    Don’t we really need more input from scientists in the news media making these stories? Every state has scientists who could call up their large local paper. Or won’t that get help in getting it published?

  3. Ronald: 1. We bureaucrats [all government employees who are not politicians] are usually prevented by law [the Hatch Act] from telling the truth or anything else to anybody outside the government. We have to retire before telling anybody anything. If the Hatch were repealed, I doubt that the newspapers would be interested in printing the straight truth because the truth wouldn’t sell newspapers.
    2. Science isn’t about voting or taking surveys. Nature’s vote is the only vote that counts.
    3. What we need is for our educational system to catch up with the 21st Century. Journalism students in college need to take enough science and math to be able to understand the scientists. High schools need to require a lot more science and math of all students so that they will be able to be good citizens of a technological civilization. As it is, most people operate almost purely on instinct, the same instincts we have had for millions of years. That was fine during the stone age, but it doesn’t work now.