The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on Tuesday voted through to the full Senate three Trump administration nominations for key roles in energy related departments.
In separate votes, the committee voted through Dan Brouillette's nomination to become Secretary of Energy (16-4), James Danly's nomination to FERC (12-8), and Katharine MacGregor's nomination to become Deputy Secretary of the Department of Interior (DOI) (14-6). The nominations now go to the full Senate for final approval.
Danly's nomination to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission broke with tradition by putting forward the name of the Republican to fill one empty seat without pairing it with a Democrat to fill the other. The committee's ranking Democrat, Joe Manchin (D-WV), renewed his call for Allison Clements, a former senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council, to be nominated to FERC.
"I know, first of all, what the White House has done, or has not done, is wrong. We should have a pairing," Manchin said. "I have asked many times directly to the White House for this pairing.
"There is a lady who has been villainized, thinking she is so far out of the mainstream that she shouldn't be considered. That is wrong. She brings so much intelligence, so much experience to this, it would be an absolute asset for the FERC committee to have the working committee of five members and have a point of view of someone so intelligent, that could bring so much to the table…
“I implore the White House to give us a working FERC. Give us the people that are qualified to do the job. Give us Miss Clements. She has been vetted since January."
FERC currently has three members -- Chairman Neil Chatterjee and Bernard McNamee, who are Republicans, and Richard Glick, a Democrat. McNamee's term expires next year; Chatterjee's in 2021; and Glick's in 2022. By law, no more than three seats at FERC may be held by one political party. If Danly is confirmed by the Senate, Republicans would hold a 3-1 majority on the Commission.
Danly, who is general counsel of FERC, was nominated by President Trump last month to fill one of the two vacant seats at the Commission. If confirmed by the Senate, Danly would serve the remainder of a five-year term expiring June 30, 2023, effectively replacing former commissioner and Chairman Kevin J. McIntyre, who died Jan. 2.
Prior to his appointment to serve as FERC's general counsel two years ago, Danly was a member of the energy regulation and litigation group at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom LLP. He previously served as law clerk to Judge Danny Boggs on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
Danly has also worked as managing director for the Institute for the Study of War in Washington, DC, and served an International Affairs Fellowship at the Council on Foreign Relations. He holds a law degree from Vanderbilt University Law School and a bachelor’s degree from Yale University. Danly also is a former U.S. Army officer twice deployed to Iraq.
Brouillette, who is currently deputy secretary at the Department of Energy (DOE), would become DOE Secretary when Rick Perry steps down later this year.
The Senate confirmed Brouillette to DOE's second highest position in August 2017. Brouillette had been head of public policy for USAA, is a former vice president of Ford Motor Co. and previously served as chief of staff to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. He also served as assistant secretary of Energy for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs from 2001-2003 and was a member of the Louisiana State Mineral and Energy Board from 2013-2016.
MacGregor is currently serving as DOI’s deputy chief of staff, exercising the authority of DOI's deputy secretary. Prior to joining DOI in early 2017, MacGregor worked on Capitol Hill for 10 years, serving two chairmen of the House Natural Resources Committee.
If confirmed by the Senate, MacGregor would take over the office previously held by David Bernhardt. Bernhardt became Secretary of the Interior this year, replacing Ryan Zinke, who resigned last December amid investigations for his controversial leadership.