By Jeremy Herb
After some slight turbulence during her confirmation process, Deborah Lee James was sworn in as the newest secretary of the Air Force on Monday.
She was confirmed by the Senate earlier this month in the midst of the upper chamber’s battling over filibuster changes, which led to several late-night and early-morning sessions.
James’s confirmation was not in doubt — she was confirmed 79-6 — but her nomination first required a party-line cloture vote as Republicans protested Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) move to end the filibuster for all non-Supreme Court nominations.
As a result, the Senate was forced to remain open through the night to run out the clock before a vote on her nomination; the final vote came at 7 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 13.
James, who was an SAIC executive before taking the Air Force job, also faced at least two holds on her nomination, which were both lifted before the Senate voted.
Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) held up the nomination until her questions on the potential cuts to the A-10 fleet were answered, while Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) placed a hold over a local issue.