The White House withdrew two contentious nominees Thursday after they hit snags in the Senate.
Rhea Sun Suh's nomination was withdrawn for assistant secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks in the Department of the Interior. The other was Alison Renee Lee, whose nomination ended for a federal judge position in South Carolina.
They are the second and third nominees to be withdrawn this week, after the Obama administration's controversial pick to lead the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division withdrew his name from consideration on Monday.
The Natural Resources Defense Council announced earlier this week Suh would join the group as president, after her confirmation stalled in the Senate this year. She will start the job next year.
Suh had received the backing of Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairwoman Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and advanced through the committee on a party-line vote but failed to receive a full vote on the floor. Landrieu faces a tough reelection this year, as does Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), who also voted for her in committee.
Suh's nomination received heavy push-back from Republicans, who pointed to comments she made while working for an advocacy group in 2007, where she described the pace of natural gas development as "the single greatest threat to the ecological integrity of the West."
Landrieu had defended the nominee, saying she expressed support for natural gas production during the confirmation. Besides, Landrieu argued, energy production is outside the scope of the Fish and Wildlife position.
Suh currently serves as the assistant secretary for policy, management and budget at the Interior Department and was confirmed by the Senate for that position in 2009.
Lee, nominated for the federal bench in South Carolina, did not make it to a confirmation hearing.
There were immediate concerns about Lee dating back to last year.
Both GOP South Carolina senators — Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott — voiced objections to two of her past decisions while a circuit court judge in the state. They referenced cases in which she reduced the bonds on two suspects who were each later charged in separate homicide cases.
In July, Scott formally announced he would oppose Lee's nomination. In a tradition known as a "blue slip," the Judiciary Committee gives extra deference to the opinions of home-state senators when approving judges for the federal bench.
The Senate is scheduled to break until after the midterm election, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has said a number of nominations will be considered during the lame-duck session.
— Updated 9:35 a.m.