End of the Road for FERC Nominee?

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
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
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 »
WITH LIVE BLOGGING
Trump Deposition Video Is Online
13 hours ago
STAFF PICKS

The video of Donald Trump's deposition in his case against restaurateur Jeffrey Zakarian is now live. Slate's Jim Newell and Josh Voorhees are live-blogging it while they watch.

Source:
SOUND LEVEL AFFECTED
Debate Commission Admits Issues with Trump’s Mic
14 hours ago
THE LATEST

The Commission on Presidential Debates put out a statement today that gives credence to Donald Trump's claims that he had a bad microphone on Monday night. "Regarding the first debate, there were issues regarding Donald Trump's audio that affected the sound level in the debate hall," read the statement in its entirety.

Source:
TRUMP VS. CHEFS
Trump Deposition Video to Be Released
14 hours ago
THE LATEST

"A video of Donald Trump testifying under oath about his provocative rhetoric about Mexicans and other Latinos is set to go public" as soon as today. "Trump gave the testimony in June at a law office in Washington in connection with one of two lawsuits he filed last year after prominent chefs reacted to the controversy over his remarks by pulling out of plans to open restaurants at his new D.C. hotel. D.C. Superior Court Judge Brian Holeman said in an order issued Thursday evening that fears the testimony might show up in campaign commercials were no basis to keep the public from seeing the video."

Source:
A CANDIDATE TO BE ‘PROUD’ OF
Chicago Tribune Endorses Gary Johnson
18 hours ago
THE LATEST

No matter that his recall of foreign leaders leaves something to be desired, Gary Johnson is the choice of the Chicago Tribune's editorial board. The editors argue that Donald Trump couldn't do the job of president, while hitting Hillary Clinton for "her intent to greatly increase federal spending and taxation, and serious questions about honesty and trust." Which leaves them with Johnson. "Every American who casts a vote for him is standing for principles," they write, "and can be proud of that vote. Yes, proud of a candidate in 2016."

NEVER TRUMP
USA Today Weighs in on Presidential Race for First Time Ever
1 days ago
THE DETAILS

"By all means vote, just not for Donald Trump." That's the message from USA Today editors, who are making the first recommendation on a presidential race in the paper's 34-year history. It's not exactly an endorsement; they make clear that the editorial board "does not have a consensus for a Clinton endorsement." But they state flatly that Donald Trump is, by "unanimous consensus of the editorial board, unfit for the presidency."

Source:
×