End of the Road for FERC Nominee?

None

Rep.-elect Tim Scott, R-S.C.., speaks during news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 18, 2010. (AP Photo/Harry Hamburg)  
National Journal
Alex Brown
Sept. 26, 2013, 7:19 a.m.

Bar­ring some un­usu­al man­euv­er­ing by Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Harry Re­id, Ron Binz’s chances of head­ing the Fed­er­al En­ergy Reg­u­lat­ory Com­mis­sion may be all but gone.

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., an­nounced his op­pos­i­tion to Binz on Thursday morn­ing, mean­ing all 10 Re­pub­lic­ans on the Sen­ate’s En­ergy and Nat­ur­al Re­sources Com­mit­tee—along with Demo­crat­ic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Vir­gin­ia—re­portedly stand against his con­firm­a­tion. That means the 22-mem­ber pan­el will not be able to re­com­mend him for a full Sen­ate vote.

A spokes­man for com­mit­tee chair­man Ron Wyden, D-Ore., signaled the White House may be mov­ing in a new dir­ec­tion. “The com­mit­tee is aware that oth­er can­did­ates are be­ing con­sidered to lead the FERC,” Keith Chu said.

Binz’s con­firm­a­tion pro­spects had been tenu­ous fol­low­ing a gruel­ing hear­ing be­fore the com­mit­tee earli­er this month. Manchin and Sen. Rob Port­man, R-Ohio, have said Binz re­vealed a bi­as to­ward re­new­able fuels over coal dur­ing his time as head of the Col­or­ado reg­u­lat­ory au­thor­ity, but Binz has denied he is anti-coal.

Spec­u­la­tion in­tens­i­fied Wed­nes­day when Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., said she had heard Binz was with­draw­ing his name. Not so, ac­cord­ing to the com­mis­sion. “Mr. Binz has not with­drawn his nom­in­a­tion,” said FERC spokes­wo­man Mary O’Driscoll.

Al­though Binz may not be able to earn the com­mit­tee’s ma­jor­ity sup­port, a spokes­man for Wyden said the pan­el would still hold a vote on re­com­mend­ing him to the full Sen­ate.

What re­mains to be seen is if Re­id will put Binz’s con­firm­a­tion be­fore the full Sen­ate without the com­mit­tee’s ap­prov­al, a move pre­vi­ous ma­jor­ity lead­ers have used in rare in­stances for stalled nom­in­ees. In 2005, the nom­in­a­tion of former Am­bas­sad­or to the United Na­tions John Bolton was sent to a vote be­fore the Sen­ate without the back­ing of the Sen­ate For­eign Re­la­tions Com­mit­tee. Re­id has not stated wheth­er he will use such a man­euver, but he did push the White House to nom­in­ate Binz over the ori­gin­al choice, John Nor­ris. 

Ac­cord­ing to Sen­ate data, only five nom­in­a­tions that got a neut­ral re­port­ing from a com­mit­tee have been brought to the floor since 1987, and only one was ap­proved. Sim­il­arly, only five neg­at­ive re­ports on nom­in­ees were sent to the Sen­ate floor, and just one was ap­proved.

What We're Following See More »
TAKING A LONG VIEW TO SOUTHERN STATES
In Dropout Speech, Santorum Endorses Rubio
2 days ago
THE DETAILS

As expected after earlier reports on Wednesday, Rick Santorum ended his presidential bid. But less expected: he threw his support to Marco Rubio. After noting he spoke with Rubio the day before for an hour, he said, “Someone who has a real understanding of the threat of ISIS, real understanding of the threat of fundamentalist Islam, and has experience, one of the things I wanted was someone who has experience in this area, and that’s why we decided to support Marco Rubio.” It doesn’t figure to help Rubio much in New Hampshire, but the Santorum nod could pay dividends down the road in southern states.

Source:
‘PITTING PEOPLE AGAINST EACH OTHER’
Rubio, Trump Question Obama’s Mosque Visit
2 days ago
WHY WE CARE

President Obama’s decision to visit a mosque in Baltimore today was never going to be completely uncontroversial. And Donald Trump and Marco Rubio proved it. “Maybe he feels comfortable there,” Trump told interviewer Greta van Susteren on Fox News. “There are a lot of places he can go, and he chose a mosque.” And in New Hampshire, Rubio said of Obama, “Always pitting people against each other. Always. Look at today – he gave a speech at a mosque. Oh, you know, basically implying that America is discriminating against Muslims.”

Source:
THE TIME IS NOW, TED
Cruz Must Max Out on Evangelical Support through Early March
2 days ago
WHY WE CARE

For Ted Cruz, a strong showing in New Hampshire would be nice, but not necessary. That’s because evangelical voters only make up 21% of the Granite State’s population. “But from the February 20 South Carolina primary through March 15, there are nine states (South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, and North Carolina) with an estimated white-Evangelical percentage of the GOP electorate over 60 percent, and another four (Texas, Kansas, Louisiana, and Missouri) that come in over 50 percent.” But after that, he better be in the catbird’s seat, because only four smaller states remain with evangelical voter majorities.

Source:
CHRISTIE, BUSH TRYING TO TAKE HIM DOWN
Rubio Now Winning the ‘Endorsement Primary’
2 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Since his strong third-place finish in Iowa, Marco Rubio has won endorsement by two sitting senators and two congressmen, putting him in the lead for the first time of FiveThirtyEight‘s Endorsement Tracker. “Some politicians had put early support behind Jeb Bush — he had led [their] list since August — but since January the only new endorsement he has received was from former presidential candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham.” Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that fueled by resentment, “members of the Bush and Christie campaigns have communicated about their mutual desire to halt … Rubio’s rise in the polls.”

Source:
ARE YOU THE GATEKEEPER?
Sanders: Obama Is a Progressive
2 days ago
THE LATEST

“Do I think President Obama is a progressive? Yeah, I do,” said Bernie Sanders, in response to a direct question in tonight’s debate. “I think they’ve done a great job.” But Hillary Clinton wasn’t content to sit out the latest chapter in the great debate over the definition of progressivism. “In your definition, with you being the gatekeeper of progressivism, I don’t think anyone else fits that definition,” she told Sanders.

×