Senate panel approves Trump energy nominees

Senate panel approves Trump energy nominees
© Greg Nash

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted Tuesday to approve five of President Trump’s nominees for energy positions in the federal government.

Senators voted to easily approve Kevin McIntyre and Richard Glick to be Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) members, Ryan Nelson to be the Interior Department’s solicitor, Joseph Balash to be Interior’s assistant secretary for land and mineral management and David Jonas to be general counsel at the Energy Department.

The votes from the committee, led by Chairwoman Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiSixth GOP senator unlikely to attend Republican convention Koch-backed group urges Senate to oppose 'bailouts' of states in new ads The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump backs another T stimulus, urges governors to reopen schools MORE (R-Alaska), send all of the nominees to the full Senate for a confirmation vote, which has not yet been scheduled.

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Trump plans to name McIntyre FERC’s chairman if he is confirmed. With him and Glick, the commission would have its full five-member roster.

The Interior and Energy departments currently have only two Senate-confirmed officials, making it difficult for the Trump administration to move on some of its major policy priorities at those departments.

McIntyre, Glick, Nelson and Balash were approved by a voice vote, with only Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenPolitical world mourns loss of comedian Jerry Stiller Maher to Tara Reade on timing of sexual assault allegation: 'Why wait until Biden is our only hope?' Democrats begin to confront Biden allegations MORE (D-Minn.) voting against Balash.

Jonas’s nomination was approved by a vote of 14 to 9, mostly along party lines.

Jonas received significant pushback from Democrats, due largely to a 1993 op-ed piece he co-wrote warning that allowing gay people in the military could lead to “blanket parties” and “discipline problems” and arguing that women should not serve in military combat roles.

At his confirmation hearing in July, he said that his thinking has evolved on those matters.