Senate confirms Brouillette to replace Perry as Energy secretary
The Senate confirmed Dan Brouillette on Monday to lead the Department of Energy (DOE) as Rick Perry exits the agency amid questions over his dealings in Ukraine.
Brouillette, the deputy secretary at DOE, was nominated to the top post after Perry announced in October he would be stepping down.
Brouillette first served at the agency during the George W. Bush administration, working as an assistant secretary between 2001 and 2003. He has also worked as a chief of staff to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Prior to joining the Trump administration, Brouillette served as senior vice president and head of public policy for USAA, a financial services firm. He also worked as a vice president at Ford Motor Co.
“Dan’s experience in the sector is unparalleled. A total professional, I have no doubt that Dan will do a great job!” President Trump wrote in a tweet announcing Brouillette’s nomination in October.
Perry departed DOE on Sunday after questions were raised about his role in the Ukraine controversy engulfing the White House.
Perry was also one of the so-called “three amigos,” alongside former special envoy Kurt Volker and Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, who dealt with Ukraine as Trump sought investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and the 2016 election.
Perry’s involvement in Ukraine policy led to questions for Brouillette, who told lawmakers his involvement with the country extends only to providing help expanding natural gas markets.
Brouillette told lawmakers at a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee meeting last month that he was not present for Perry’s conversations with the country or “any of the conversations related to the House’s inquiry.”
“I’m not aware of the conversations that Secretary Perry had or did not have,” he said. “I wasn’t a party to that; I didn’t have any knowledge of that.”
Despite questions about whether Brouillette had ties to Ukraine, just four Democrats on the committee voted against forwarding his nomination.
“I know he is up to the task,” Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), the ranking member on the committee, said of Brouillette. “Overall, I think the president has chosen wisely in nominating you, Dan, for this job, and I am pleased to support your nomination.”
Brouillette’s nomination moved relatively quickly through the process, moving out of committee and through the Senate in about two weeks.
“Deputy Secretary Brouillette is an accomplished professional, with an impressive record in public- and private-sector leadership,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) wrote after meeting with Brouillette. “His work alongside Secretary Perry has helped to undo the damage of the Obama era and write a new chapter in American energy production and innovation.”