The confirmation of President Barack Obama’s nominee to lead the Commerce Department has come to a complete standstill in the Senate because of Republican filibuster threats.
Sen. James Inhofe (R.-Okla.) put a permanent hold on John Bryson’s nomination as secretary of the department Tuesday, a procedural move that would block his confirmation indefinitely.
“This is so ironic, because here’s a guy who wants to kill commerce,” Inhofe said.
“With sky-high unemployment and a struggling economy, who does President Obama choose to promote job growth? The founder of the radical Natural Resources Defense Council, a left-wing environmentalist organization, which in the name of global warming, seeks to increase drastically the price of electricity and gasoline across America,” Inhofe said.
“This is a recipe for disaster for our economy,” Inhofe said. Inhofe was joined at a Capitol Hill news conference Tuesday by the American Conservative Union and Freedom Action in voicing opposition to Bryson’s nomination.
Several Republicans had already placed a hold on Bryson as a signal to the White House to finish its work on trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia.
“Those holds are on him for the wrong reason,” Inhofe said. When those holds are lifted, my hold will still be on him.”
“I will be doing everything in my power to block his confirmation,” Inhofe said.
American Conservative Union Chairman Al Cardenas called Bryson an “enemy of private-sector job creation.”
“Conservatives must lead the fight on this confirmation battle and shine a bright light on the reckless decisions President Obama is making regarding the future of our economy,” Cardenas said.
Myron Ebell, president of Freedom Action, said Bryson is a “terrible choice” for the position and that the groups have launched an education campaign targeted at other Republican senators and their constituents to derail his nomination.
“It is absolutely outrageous that a leading proponent of the job-killing cap-and-trade bill be chosen to head the federal agency charged with promoting economic growth,” Ebell said.
Obama expected Bryson would play a key role on his economic team in providing new ideas on strengthening the country’s competitiveness worldwide.
“He understands what it takes for America to succeed in a 21st century global economy,” Obama said when he nominated Bryson on May 31. During his Senate confirmation hearing in June, Bryson said that Obama reached out to him for his business experience.
Bryson served as CEO of Edison International, the parent company of Southern California Edison, and as a director of the Boeing Company, Walt Disney Company and Coda Automotive.