Senate advances energy nominees

The Senate voted 51-45 to end debate on the nomination of Norman Bay to serve on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

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Republicans and some pro-fossil fuel Democrats opposed his nomination, but because Senate Democrats used the “nuclear option” to unilaterally change the filibuster rules, only a simple majority was needed to advance the nomination.

The Senate also voted 85-10 to end debate on Cheryl LaFleur, who was acting chairwoman of FERC. If confirmed she will serve another five years on the commission.

Later Tuesday, the Senate will vote on confirmation of both nominees.