Making it a twofer kind of week for Jacob “Jack” Lew, the Senate Budget Committee voted 22-1 today to confirm him for the job of director of the Office of Management and Budget.
But that’s where the good times ended, at least temporarily. Soon after, Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., said she will block a final confirmation vote by the full Senate until the Obama administration drops or makes major changes to its six-month moratorium on deepwater oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.
The moratorium, in effect since late May, could lead to thousand of job losses in the region, Landrieu said in a news release this afternoon. “Although Mr. Lew clearly possesses the expertise to serve as one of the President’s most important economic advisors, I found that he lacks sufficient concern for the host of economic challenges confronting the Gulf Coast,” Landrieu wrote in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., signaling her intent to put a hold on Lew’s nomination.
In a statement issued ahead of Landrieu’s, Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., said he was hopeful that the Senate would take up Lew’s nomination before adjourning in advance of the November elections. Lew, who previously served as OMB chief from 1998-2001, “brings with him exactly the kind of experience, knowledge, bipartisan spirit and integrity we need at OMB right now,” Conrad said.
On Tuesday, Lew’s nomination was backed 9-0 by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.