May 13th, 2009
12:08 PM ET
9 years ago

Senate Republicans hold off Obama Interior nominee

 President Obama’s nominee for deputy Interior Secretary is his first not to be confirmed by the Senate.

President Obama’s nominee for deputy Interior Secretary is his first not to be confirmed by the Senate.

(CNN) - Senate Republicans Wednesday blocked President Obama's choice to be the No. 2 official at the Department of the Interior.

On a vote of 57 to 39, they sustained a filibuster against David Hayes to be deputy Interior Secretary. It marked the first time the Senate has voted against one of Obama's nominees.

Sen. Robert Bennett, R-Utah, led the fight against Hayes. Bennett says his opposition is not about Hayes' qualifications. Rather, Bennett says the administration has not adequately answered his questions about why oil and gas leases in his state – that were approved in the last days of the Bush administration – were canceled by the Obama administration. He called the actions "political."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada., said the disputed leases are near national parks and the Interior Department did not cancel the leases but pulled them for review.

Reid vowed to bring the nomination back for another vote, saying he would wait to see if Democrat Al Franken wins the disputed Minnesota Senate seat, which would give Democrats the 60 votes they need to end the filibuster and approve Hayes.

Update: Democratic leaders say they could vote again on the nomination as early as next week when three more Democrats would be available.

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Susan

    The most childish behavior I've ever read about! How long are we going to allow these jerks to continue "representing us"? To deny the appointment to a qualified applcant for other reasons is ridiculous and unbelievable!

    May 13, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  2. Recreator

    Political? Why do you think Utah received those leases "at the end" of the Bush term.

    May 13, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  3. Recreator

    Since when is the Department of the Interior just a "Utah" thing?

    May 13, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  4. Mary in Georgia

    That's pretty awful.

    Senator Robert Bennett ADMITS it has nothing to do with the candidates qualifications and just has other questions he wants to ask about leases in his own state?

    that seems incredibly inappropriate.

    May 13, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  5. Carole

    Wow Breaking News!!!!! The Repubs say NO to something that is progressive.

    May 13, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  6. Gracie, MD

    The GREAT OBSTRUCTIONIST PARTY (GOP) is at it again.

    More gutter politics at its best. Vitter tried the same tactic until he realzed just how idiotic it was politically. President Obama is not "sweating" these juvenile GOP games.

    These Republican clowns just don't get it. They either need to step up or get OFF the pot. It's just that simple!

    Americans are sick and tried of the DO NOTHING, OBSTRUCTIONIST Republicans constantly spewing nothing but NOs, NOs, NOs, NOs.

    I mean really, is that the best the GOP's got to offer? SHAMEFUL.

    May 13, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  7. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    GOP never changes... if they can't have their own way (with a majority in Congress) and shove legislation down the throats of Americans who do not want a Phohibitionist country, then they'll do everything they can to ruin the country (a la Bush/Cheney) for everyone.

    May 13, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  8. Michael

    Bennett is of the "no" party. He knows why the leases were pulled. He knows the historical problems with the areas in question. It is just more of the same for the "just say NO politicians. As far as Reid jamming the nominee down their throats, I was thinking the other end.

    May 13, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
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