In an unusual ad hoc session outside its normal chambers, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Thursday morning voted to advance the nomination of Colette D. Honorable to become a commissioner at FERC.
"A majority of the members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee gathered this morning off the Senate floor to approve by voice vote moving Honorable's nomination out of committee," said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), the ranking Republican member of the committee.
It is unclear if the full Senate will vote on the nomination before adjourning. The 113th Congress is expected to end its current session shortly after voting on an omnibus spending bill, and the 114th Congress is scheduled to convene Jan. 3. If Honorable's nomination isn't approved by the current congress, Murkowski said she "hoped that the president would re-nominate her and we would be able to move her through quickly."
Committee members had been expected to vote through Honorable's nomination at a regularly scheduled meeting Wednesday, but with too few members in attendance to constitute a quorum, they were forced to adjourn without a vote. Honorable's nomination received bipartisan support during a hearing of the committee earlier in December, and members said they hoped to complete the process before the current congressional session ends (see Daily GPI, Dec. 4).
"I believe Miss Honorable has demonstrated her knowledge of utility issues, her qualifications and ability to serve on the FERC through her distinguished service on the Arkansas Public Service Commission and as chair of NARUC [the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners]," committee Chairman Mary Landrieu (D-LA) said Wednesday. "She's highly regarded by her peers; she's well respected by the industry and consumer groups, and I'm very favorably impressed by her experience and knowledge, her understanding of the issues, and her ability to work with others, which is so important in this position."
President Obama nominated Honorable, chairman of the Arkansas Public Service Commission, to FERC in August (seeDaily GPI, Aug. 29). If confirmed by the Senate, Honorable would replace John Norris, who resigned from FERC effective Aug. 20 (see Daily GPI, Aug. 8). Honorable would serve the remainder of Norris' term, which expires June 30, 2017.
Wednesday's meeting was the final scheduled committee meeting for Landrieu, who lost her reelection bid to Republican Bill Cassidy in a runoff Nov. 6 (see Daily GPI,Nov. 5).