WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate voted Monday to approve a senior Transportation Division nominee and advance one other nomination, after Republicans accused Democrats of blocking some nominees to push for funding of a New York space infrastructure venture.
Derek Kan, who was beforehand an official at San Francisco-based journey providers firm Lyft Inc, received affirmation to be undersecretary of transportation for coverage on a 90-7 vote.
Senate Republicans have stated their Democratic rivals had been stalling a variety of nominees over a dispute over funding for the $24 billion “Gateway Program,” which incorporates constructing a brand new tunnel beneath New York’s Hudson River. At the least eight different Transportation Division nominations are pending and different jobs vacant, together with a high auto security regulator.
Along with confirming Kan, the Senate voted 50-47 on Monday to advance the nomination of Steven Bradbury, a Washington lawyer, to be common counsel on the Transportation Division.
Through the administration of President George W. Bush, Bradbury was one of many principal authors of the authorized justifications for “enhanced interrogation strategies” known as the “torture memos” by critics. Senator Tammy Duckworth, an Illinois Democrat, stated in June that Bradbury “lacked the judgment to face up towards (the Bush) administration’s use of torture.”
Bradbury defended his work in June, saying the “questions we addressed raised tough points about which affordable folks might disagree.”
In September, President Donald Trump met with high elected officers from New York and New Jersey over the destiny of the Gateway Program deemed crucial to northeast U.S. transportation, however Trump made no commitments to finance the venture.
Republican Senator John Thune accused Democrats of holding nominations “hostage” whereas awaiting “assurances that the Trump administration will approve and fund” the Gateway venture.
“Whereas nobody questions the significance of this hall, there are various different essential initiatives that are also awaiting approval and funding on the Division. No venture ought to get to chop the road based mostly on the machinations of a handful of our” colleagues, Thune stated.
Senate Democratic Chief Chuck Schumer stated on Monday he opposed Kan due to administration roadblocks to the venture. “Time is operating out and we should rapidly construct new tunnels,” Schumer stated.
A Senate Democratic aide confirmed, individually, that Democrats had been holding up some nominations “as a result of they need assurances from the Transportation Division the Gateway Mission will rapidly transfer ahead after it’s funded.”
The Transportation Division regulates the nation’s automobiles, airplanes, railroads, pipelines, ports and highways.
Reporting by David Shepardson; modifying by Diane Craft and Tom Brown