Obama cabinet update: several confirmed but two nominees in trouble

It’s been a while since Bleeding Heartland covered the status of President Barack Obama’s cabinet nominees. Within the last week, senators have confirmed three nominees with little controversy. However, Republicans appear determined to block two highly-qualified appointees: Thomas Perez and Gina McCarthy.

Details on recent cabinet confirmation votes are after the jump, along with background on the latest to be confirmed, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.  

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Latest Obama cabinet appointments: Energy and EPA

President Barack Obama announced two new cabinet appointments yesterday: Ernest Moniz as secretary of Energy and Gina McCarthy as Environmental Protection Agency administrator. Bleeding Heartland posted background on Moniz and McCarthy here; I’ve added more information after the jump.

McCarthy has served as the EPA’s top air quality official since 2009. Because she is well-qualified for the position and committed to making the country’s air cleaner, environmentalists are excited about this choice. I hope that Obama is not merely “promoting a climate change champion” to soften the blow when he approves the KeystoneXL pipeline. The State Department’s draft report on KeystoneXL whitewashed the impact that project would have on the environment.  

Also yesterday, Obama formally nominated Sylvia Matthews Burwell to be the new director of the Office of Management and Budget. The White House announcement notes, “She served as Deputy Director of the OMB from 1998 to 2001, as well as Deputy Chief of Staff to the President and Chief of Staff to the Secretary of the Treasury during the Clinton administration.” UPDATE: I should have added that Burwell is a former president of the Gates Foundation’s Global Development Program, and that her most recent job was running the Wal-Mart Foundation.

The president has not yet announced his picks to run the departments of Labor, Transportation, or Commerce.

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Mid-week open thread, with latest Obama cabinet news

Do you want the good news first, or the bad news? President Barack Obama has reportedly settled on a strong candidate to replace Lisa Jackson as Environmental Protection Agency administrator. On the flip side, Steven Chu’s successor at the Department of Energy is likely to be a nuclear physicist with connections to major polluting industries. Details are after the jump. Still no word on the next secretary of transportation.

Florida Governor Rick Scott is the latest Republican governor to decide to expand Medicaid under the 2010 health care reform law. He was one of those leading the charge to have the law declared unconstitutional. Some comments from today’s press conference are after the jump as well. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, Ohio Governor John Kasich and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder are all Republicans who opposed the Obama administration policy but have agreed to expand Medicaid in their states. I hope that when Iowa Governor Terry Branstad meets with U.S. Health and Human Services officials later this week, he will find some face-saving way to agree to expand Medicaid here. So far he sounds determined to resist the policy, despite the consensus of every major Iowa medical group as well as a wide array of religious and social justice organizations.

This is an open thread: all topics welcome.

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