- The Senate Energy and Natural Resource Committee on Tuesday questioned James Danly, the White House nominee for one of two vacancies on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
- Danly, who currently serves as general counsel at FERC, is the Republican pick, and Committee Chair Lisa Murkowski, R-Ala., urged her colleagues to support his nomination in the absence of a Democratic pick that would produce the traditional bipartisan pairs of nominations for the independent agency. If Danly is confirmed, FERC would have three Republican commissioners and one Democrat.
- Democrats such as Committee Ranking Member Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said he is "fighting for" the White House to advance the nomination of Allison Clements for the seat vacated in August by Democratic Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur. When asked if Manchin would vote against Danly without a second nomination from the White House, he replied, "I always vote for the qualities of the person."
Manchin said he remains "hopeful" that Clements' nomination will be brought forth in the next week. He told reporters he has not heard from the White House regarding his pleas. "I have begged the White House to please do this," he said of the bipartisan pairing.
Clements is the president and founder of energy regulatory consulting firm Goodgrid and former director of the Sustainable FERC program at the Natural Resources Defense Council. Manchin said she had been vetted and that her name has been on the president's desk since January.
"If there was a concern, if there was a reason to disqualify her, they should have let me know," Manchin said. "We could have worked on this. There is none. It leads me to believe I have to fight back as hard as possible not to let politics end her."
Murkowski also agreed that FERC functions best as a full five-member commission.
Other senators noted that they did not hold the solo nomination without a Democratic counterpart against Danly, although Democrats grilled him about his stance on interfering with wholesale market rules to support baseload coal infrastructure.
"I don’t see a need for there to be a wholesale revision of the wholesale market," Danly told Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M.
Murkowski said she wanted to advance Danly's nomination soon but could not say if it would be before Thanksgiving. FERC has three commissioners, but lacks a quorum in a number of key cases due to one of the commissioners needing to recuse themselves.