- 17 Feb 2014
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) had a bumpy first day as chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee last week. First, Washington got hit with a nasty snowstorm. (It’s common for the worst storms of the winter to hit the region sometime around Valentine’s Day and President’s Day). Only four senators showed up for Landrieu’s debut as committee chairman, succeeding Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who moved to the finance committee, replacing Max Baucus, the Montana Democrat who is now US ambassador to China. The committee was scheduled to take up executive branch nominations, including Rhea Suh to be the Interior Department’s assistant secretary for policy, management and budget, but the nomination has proved to be controversial, with Republicans casting her as a foe of fossil fuel development on federal lands. Among those casting aspersions about Suh’s views is Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), who will challenge Landrieu for the Pelican State’s Senate seat in November. But with only four solons present last week, the committee was unable to conduct business.