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 Binz has not withdrawn his nomination,” said FERC spokeswoman Mary O’Driscoll.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 »
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.
"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."
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."
"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."