Newsflash: the Senate accomplishes something


Contrary to what recent experience might suggest, the Senate can occasionally get something done.

Witness yesterday’s approval of two Obama administration picks whose nominations had been dangling for months. Around noon, the Senate confirmed Heather Higginbottom on a 64-36 vote to become deputy director at the Office of Management and Budget. Later that evening, lawmakers also signed off 74-26 on the  nomination of John Bryson to be the next Commerce Secretary.

Both nominations had been stalled by Republican objections. Higginbottom, who had been policy director for the 2008 Obama presidential campaign, more recently served as the number two person at the White House Domestic Policy Council. While OMB Director Jack Lew had praised her as “an outstanding addition” to his team, some GOP lawmakers questioned her qualifications. Bryson, a former energy company CEO, overcame opposition sparked by his role in co-founding the Natural Resources Defense Council, a prominent environmental organization.

Higginbottom was sworn in Thursday night, OMB spokeswoman Moira Mack said in an email today.  “We’re very pleased that the Senate has finally confirmed Heather at such a critical time for America’s fiscal challenges,” Mack said. “Her responsibilities will include playing a key role in the development of the 2013 budget proposal.”

Bryson “will be a key member of my economic team, working with the business community to promote job creation, foster growth, and help open up new markets around the world for American-made goods,” Obama said in a statement.

[Updated at 4:50 p.m. to reflect Mack comment.]]


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