Reid seeking vote on Commerce nominee

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidConservative Senate candidate calls on GOP to end filibuster Ex-Reid aide: McConnell's 'original sin' was casting ObamaCare as 'partisan, socialist takeover' GOP faces growing demographic nightmare in West MORE (D-Nev.) hopes to soon hold a vote on President Obama’s nominee for the position of Commerce secretary.

“We hope to lock in an agreement on the third — on three district court judges as well as the nomination of John Bryson to be Commerce secretary,” Reid said on the floor Wednesday morning.

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Senate Republicans were holding up Bryson’s nomination until three key trade deals were moved forward. Congress approved those trade deals last week.

But some Republicans nonetheless remain opposed to Bryson’s nomination, citing the former energy company executive’s past support for cap-and-trade legislation and his role in founding a major environmental group in the 1970s.

Sen. James InhofeJames InhofeMcCain absence adds to GOP agenda’s uncertainty GOP signals infrastructure bill must wait Lobbying World MORE (R-Okla.), an outspoken skeptic on climate change, placed a hold on Bryson’s nomination in June, citing concerns about his energy and environmental record.

Matt Dempsey, Inhofe’s spokesman, told The Hill Wednesday that the hold still stands, and that Inhofe will object to any effort to vote on Bryson’s nomination without an extended floor debate.

The Oklahoma senator is reaching out to his Republican colleagues “to remind them of the concerns he had months ago and get those back to the forefront,” Dempsey said.

Inhofe and other Republicans have criticized Bryson for being a founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council in the 1970s. They also have pointed to a comment from a March 2009 speech in which Bryson called the cap-and-trade bill that narrowly passed the House in 2009 a “moderate, but acceptable, bill.”

Sen. John BarrassoJohn BarrassoSunday shows preview: Scaramucci makes TV debut as new communication chief Senate panel won’t vote on bill to boost ethanol GOP reverses course on healthcare MORE (R-Wyo.), a member of the Senate Republican leadership team, has called Bryson an “environmental extremist.”

Bryson’s supporters say he is hardly an extremist. He spent much of his career — 18 years — as an energy executive, serving as CEO of Edison International, a California-based electric power generator.

Before his time at Edison International, Bryson spent years working on water and power issues in California, first as chairman of the California State Water Resources Control Board in the late 1970s and then as head of the California Public Utilities Commission.

He has also served as a co-chairman of the Electric Drive Transportation Association, an electric vehicles trade association, and as a member of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change.

Bryson has a wealth of non-energy related experience as a director of Boeing, Walt Disney Co. and Coda Automotive.