Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is trying to block a Senate vote on President Obama’s pick to head the Department of Energy as a protest to proposed budget cuts to a nuclear processing facility in his home state.

The full Senate was expected to vote on the nomination of Ernest J. Moniz, a physics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, this week, but the hold imposed by Graham changes that unless some kind of deal can be worked out between the Obama administration and Graham.

If the Senate does not act on the Moniz nomination this week, it could be several weeks before he is confirmed, given that the Senate plans to recess at the end of the week and does not expect to return until May 6.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee overwhelmingly voted out his nomination last Thursday (see Daily GPI, April 19). The nomination cleared the panel 21-1.

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