Senate confirms Perry for Energy secretary

Senate confirms Perry for Energy secretary
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The Senate on Thursday confirmed Rick Perry to lead the Energy Department — an agency he once pledged to eliminate.
 
Perry, the former Texas governor and a two-time Republican presidential candidate, was confirmed on a 62-37 vote. 
 
The Senate confirmed Perry after only a few hours of debate on Thursday afternoon, moving unexpectedly quickly on the final cabinet-level member of President Trump’s energy and environment team. 
 
During a Republican primary debate in 2011, Perry listed the three federal agencies he would abolish as president but famously forgot the Energy Department, quipping, “oops.” 
 
But after Trump nominated him to lead the department in December, Perry said he had reconsidered the importance of the agency, which supports energy research and oversees the nation’s nuclear arsenal. 
 
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"My past statements made over five years ago about abolishing the Department of Energy do not reflect my current thinking,” Perry said at his January confirmation hearing. 
 
“In fact, after being briefed on so many of the vital functions of the Department of Energy, I regret recommending its elimination.”
 
Republicans supported Perry's nomination, applauding his support of the Texas energy sector during his time as governor and saying his experience in Austin means he can effectively lead a $30 billion, 14,400-person department. 
 
 
“I think that he will work to continue to break down the research silos that have really frustrated the department and work to find ways that there can be greater collaboration — greater working together — and I’m also confident that he will pursue policies that will ultimately provide us with more stable sources of energy.”
 
Democrats said they are concerned about Perry’s views on climate change and his support for climate research in the department. The Trump administration has previously hinted at potential deep cuts for the Energy Department, something Democrats contend Perry will struggle to resist. 
 
“I take Gov. Perry at this word that he has been briefed on all the functions of the Department of Energy and that he does not believe it should be abolished, as he once articulated,” Sen. Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellA new progressive standard on campaign cash: It can't come from corporations Kamala Harris will no longer accept corporate PAC money Can Silicon Valley expect European-style regulation here at home? MORE (D-Wash.) said. 
 
“But, as I said, his testimony leaves a lot to question about whether he will fight for these essential programs in a Trump administration who have already tried to target these agencies and programs to be defunded.”
 
The Senate confirmed Perry after only about three hours of debate on Thursday, moving his nomination quicker than any other energy or environment official in Trump’s cabinet. 
 
Senators confirmed Ryan Zinke to lead the Interior Department on Wednesday. Scott Pruitt became administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency in February.
 
Democratic Sens. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerOvernight Cybersecurity: DHS cyber nominee vows to make election security 'top priority' | CIA to allow lawmakers to review classified info on Haspel | Dems raise security concerns about Trump's phone use Warner requests copy of report on Trump CIA pick's role in destroyed tapes CIA will allow senators to review classified material on Haspel MORE (Va.), Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinMcConnell hits back at 'ridiculous' Chinaperson remark Overnight Defense: New allegations against VA nominee | Pompeo vote set for Thursday | Work begins on defense policy bill | Measures push space corps, pay bump for troops Pompeo set to be confirmed on Thursday MORE (W.Va.), Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampOvernight Defense: New allegations against VA nominee | Pompeo vote set for Thursday | Work begins on defense policy bill | Measures push space corps, pay bump for troops Pompeo set to be confirmed on Thursday Election security dominates hearing for Trump Homeland Security nominee MORE (N.D.), Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallSchumer rips Trump over 'slap-dash' nominee vetting Dem senators demand Trump explain ties to Koch brothers Dem senators unveil expanded public option for health insurance MORE (N.M.), Catherine Cortez Masto (Nev.), Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowVulnerable Senate Dems have big cash advantages Senators push HHS to negotiate lower prices on opioid overdose reversal drug Senators press administration on mental health parity MORE (Mich.), Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillOvernight Cybersecurity: DHS cyber nominee vows to make election security 'top priority' | CIA to allow lawmakers to review classified info on Haspel | Dems raise security concerns about Trump's phone use Election security dominates hearing for Trump Homeland Security nominee Overnight Cybersecurity: Homeland Security official says Russia likely targeted more than 21 states | Senate approves Trump's NSA chief | Lawmakers unveil bipartisan internet privacy bill MORE (Mo.), Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterThe Memo: Jackson ‘fiasco’ casts pall on White House Republicans want Trump’s VA nominee to withdraw Overnight Health Care: New allegations against VA nominee | Dems worry House moving too fast on opioid bills | HHS chief back in DC | FDA reexamines safety of controversial Parkinson's drug MORE (Mont.), Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperEPA security chief worked for tabloid owner linked to Trump: report Overnight Energy: Pruitt proposes rule targeting 'secret science' | Dems probe Pruitt's security chief | FAA bill provisions could strip endangered species protections Senators fume over fight to change rules for Trump's nominees MORE (Del.) and Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyOvernight Defense: New allegations against VA nominee | Pompeo vote set for Thursday | Work begins on defense policy bill | Measures push space corps, pay bump for troops Pompeo set to be confirmed on Thursday Schumer to oppose Pompeo as secretary of State MORE (Ind.), and Independent Sen. Angus KingAngus Stanley KingGOP moves to cut debate time for Trump nominees Overnight Defense: New allegations against VA nominee | Pompeo vote set for Thursday | Work begins on defense policy bill | Measures push space corps, pay bump for troops Pompeo set to be confirmed on Thursday MORE (Maine), voted with all present Republicans to back Perry.