New Obama cabinet discussion thread

Time for a new thread to discuss any Obama cabinet appointments. The Senate Intelligence Committee held a confirmation hearing today for John Brennan, President Barack Obama’s nominee for CIA director. I didn’t watch the hearing, but based on reports like this and this, it sounds like he didn’t demonstrate that he deserves to be confirmed.

I loved this story in The Onion: “American Citizens Split On DOJ Memo Authorizing Government To Kill Them.”

The president announced earlier this week that Sally Jewell will be his nominee as interior secretary. She’s an interesting choice. I’ve posted some background after the jump.

The Hill discussed some of the names supposedly on the short list for transportation secretary. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus have urged Obama to consider Representative Jim Clyburn of South Carolina for that job, but Clyburn doesn’t sound interested in leaving the House.

Penny Pritzker, “who made her fortune building Hyatt Hotels” and has been one of Obama’s powerhouse fundraisers, is reportedly the president’s choice to run the Commerce department.

Gretchen Morgenson, one of the best reporters on the finance and banking industries, published a recap of Timothy Geithner’s tenure as Treasury secretary.

From Suzanne Goldenberg’s report for The Guardian on Sally Jewell’s nomination:

The choice of Sally Jewell, an oil engineer who went on to win environmental awards, was unconventional. The post of interior secretary has generally gone to career politicians from western states. The outgoing secretary, Ken Salazar, was a Democratic senator from Colorado.

Jewell’s name had not been in circulation before Wednesday’s announcement, but she had apparently been on Obama’s radar for some time. She worked with the White House on healthcare reform in 2009 and on the Great Outdoors Initiative in 2011. Jewell is also a longtime donor to Democratic candidates. […]

Bill Snape, a senior counsel at the Center for Biological Diversity, said he hoped Jewell would stand up to the oil industry.

“It is clear the secretary of interior nominee has a passion for national parks, but the question is whether she will be able to balance the natural values of our wild lands and wildlife with the ravenous pressure by industry to drill for fossil fuels,” he said in an email.

Other environmental groups gave Jewell broader support, noting her work with environmental groups as well as her years as president of REI, the $2bn a year outdoor gear and clothing chain.

“She is a practical, no-nonsense leader who would bring a sense of purpose to implementing the oil and gas reforms that have remained largely on the shelf. She is a strong pick,” Trout Unlimited said in an email.

From Hadley Malcolm’s piece in USA Today:

The 56-year-old Great Britain native has served as CEO of REI since 2005, but she also sits on several boards, including for the National Parks Conservation Association and Initiative for Global Development. […]

REI declined to release Jewell’s political affiliation but according to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics, she has made campaign contributions almost solely to Democratic candidates going back to 2008.

Jewell has won numerous environmental awards, such as the 2009 Rachel Carson Award for Environmental Conservation from the Audubon Society. Last year, she received the Award for Public Service from the Woodrow Wilson Center and was a named a 2012 Woman of Distinction by the Girl Scouts of Western Washington. […]

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who also chairs the Energy and Natural Resources Committee that will hold Jewell’s hearings, called the nomination “an inspired choice” in a release the committee put out.

“Her record shows that she understands the importance of preserving our public lands for future generations, as well as the critical links between public lands, natural resources and economic growth,” he said.

Dirk Kempthorne, who was Interior secretary under former president George W. Bush, says Jewell will be a “terrific secretary of Interior,” citing the fact she’s “an outdoor enthusiast and brings that passion.” […]

Several groups from the retail and energy industries have expressed support for Jewell’s Cabinet nomination, such as the League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Western Energy Alliance, a non-profit trade association of oil and natural gas companies.

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