Lew Confirmed as OMB Director as Landrieu Releases Hold

Jacob LewLast night Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) released her hold on Jack Lew's nomination to head the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), allowing his nomination to come to the floor of the Senate for a vote. Landrieu first placed the hold almost two months ago, in an effort to force the Obama administration to end its deepwater drilling moratorium. However, after the administration gave in to her demands and ended the moratorium, Landrieu then said her hold was actually because the administration was not approving enough drilling permits in general. Lew's nomination has been in limbo ever since.

Why Landrieu decided to place her hold on Lew's nomination was never clear, since offshore drilling is the purview of the Interior Department, not the OMB. But her hold got the attention of the White House, which for the past few weeks has been negotiating furiously with Landrieu. Evidently, Thursday night she felt her needs had been sufficiently addressed, having secured a commitment for a visit from Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and more drilling permits, and subsequently released her hold on Lew's nomination.

Without Landrieu's hold, Lew's nomination quickly came to the Senate floor, and passed by voice-vote, demonstrating the popularity of Lew's nomination. Lew easily passed through both the Senate Budget Committee and Homeland Security and Government Reform Committee earlier this fall, with only one Democrat (Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)) voting against Lew's nomination.

Lew now has only a few short months to put his imprint on the President's FY2012 budget, which is due out in February.

Image by Flickr user Screenshots3 used under a Creative Commons license.

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