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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. 
 
“He will hold his employees and contractors accountable. We know that he will be a responsible steward of taxpayer dollars,” Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Congress inches closer to virus relief deal Lawmakers pressure leaders to reach COVID-19 relief deal Biden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him MORE (R-Alaska) said during floor debate on Thursday. 
 
“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. 
 
 
“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 WarnerHillicon Valley: Senate Intelligence Committee leaders warn of Chinese threats to national security | Biden says China must play by 'international norms' | House Democrats use Markup app for leadership contest voting Senate Intelligence Committee leaders warn of Chinese threats to national security Defense policy bill would create new cyber czar position MORE (Va.), Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinSanders says he can't support bipartisan COVID-19 relief proposal in its current form Progressives push for direct payments to be included in COVID-19 relief deal Rubio and Ocasio-Cortez spar on Twitter: 'Work more, tweet less' MORE (W.Va.), Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Congress inches closer to virus relief deal The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Dem leaders back smaller COVID-19 relief bill as pandemic escalates Grassley suggests moderate Democrats for next Agriculture secretary MORE (N.D.), Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallOVERNIGHT ENERGY: EPA proposes reapproving uses of pesticide linked to brain damage in children | Hispanic caucus unhappy with transition team treatment of Lujan Grisham | Schwarzenegger backs Nichols to lead EPA Hispanic caucus unhappy with transition team treatment of Lujan Grisham Progressives urge Haaland for Interior as short list grows MORE (N.M.), Catherine Cortez Masto (Nev.), Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowHarris taps women of color for key senior staff positions Republican John James concedes in Michigan Senate race Lobbying world MORE (Mich.), Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillMcCaskill: 'Hypocrisy' for GOP to target Biden nominee's tweets after Trump Democrats must turn around Utah police arrest man driving 130 mph claiming he was going to kill former Missouri senator MORE (Mo.), Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterOvernight Defense: Trump loyalist to lead Pentagon transition | Democrats ask VA for vaccine distribution plan | Biden to get classified intel reports Senate Democrats press VA for vaccine distribution plan President is wild card as shutdown fears grow MORE (Mont.), Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Kerry says Paris climate deal alone 'is not enough' | EPA halts planned Taiwan trip for Wheeler| EPA sued over rule extending life of toxic coal ash ponds Overnight Energy: Biden names John Kerry as 'climate czar' | GM reverses on Trump, exits suit challenging California's tougher emissions standards | United Nations agency says greenhouse gas emissions accumulating despite lockdown decline GSA transition delay 'poses serious risk' to Native Americans, Udall says MORE (Del.) and Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyBiden and Schumer face battles with left if Democrats win big Harris walks fine line on Barrett as election nears The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by JobsOhio - Showdown: Trump-Biden debate likely to be nasty MORE (Ind.), and Independent Sen. Angus KingAngus KingHillicon Valley: Government used Patriot Act to gather website visitor logs in 2019 | Defense bill leaves out Section 230 repeal, includes White House cyber czar position | Officials warn hackers are targeting vaccine supply chain Defense policy bill would create new cyber czar position Leadership changes at top cyber agency raise national security concerns MORE (Maine), voted with all present Republicans to back Perry.