A Senate committee chaired by Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski has delayed votes on the confirmations of Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke for Interior Secretary and Texas Governor Rick Perry for Energy Secretary.
The announced the postponement of Tuesday’s business meeting of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources came late Monday evening in a one-sentence press release, but no reason for the delay or new date for the confirmation votes was given.
NBC News — A Senate committee on Monday night abruptly postponed its scheduled votes Tuesday on President Donald Trump’s nominations of Rick Perry and Ryan Zinke to lead the Energy and Interior departments.
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee gave no explanation for the postponement, which it said was in effect “until further notice.”
During his hearing before the committee last week, Perry — the former governor of Texas who unsuccessfully challenged Trump during the Republican presidential primaries — walked back controversial statements from his past campaigns promising to abolish the Energy Department.
“I regret recommending its elimination,” he said in his opening statement.
Meanwhile, Zinke, a Republican U.S. representative from Montana, contradicted his would-be new boss during his confirmation hearing, testifying that he accepts the scientific conclusion that climate change is real.
“I do not believe it’s a hoax,” Zinke said — even though Trump himself has claimed that climate change is a “hoax” created by China.
According to the Great Falls Tribune the vote delay was the result of a miscommunication between Murkowski and the committee’s ranking minority member Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington State:
“Nicole Daigle, communications director for the committee, said Tuesday that Murkowski postponed the hearing due to a miscommunication between her and Cantwell.”
“She wants to start 2017 on a good footing with her ranking member,” Daigle said. “Sen. Murkowski hopes to be able to put a vote before the full committee very quickly.”
“Cantwell told reporters in Washington Tuesday that Democrats want more information about how Rick Perry will handle energy efficiency standards, according to Cantwell’s office.”
“In addition to concerns about Perry’s stance, Democrats also objected to Republicans calling a vote without giving the standard three-day advance notice, Cantwell’s office said.”
“Democrats would be open to voting next week, Cantwell added.”