Monday, November 13, 2006

Public interest groups square off against corporate lobbyists on OMB nomination

NOMINATIONS: Time running out on OMB pick Dudley

Lauren Morello, E&E Daily reporter – Nov. 13, 2006

The Bush administration's controversial pick for the top regulatory post at the Office of Management and Budget testifies today before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

The panel will hear from Susan Dudley, the White House nominee to head OMB's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, which reviews regulations developed by a wide range of federal agencies.

Whether the full Senate will have time to consider Dudley's nomination during the lame duck is unclear. The Homeland Security Committee is not expected to vote on Dudley before the end of this week, when lawmakers will adjourn for the Thanksgiving holiday, sources on and off the Hill said.

Homeland Security Committee Chairwoman Susan Collins (R-Maine) and other lawmakers on the panel have been tight-lipped on their opinion of Dudley. Only ranking member Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) has publicly commented on Dudley, stating in a September letter that Dudley "is known for questioning the economic justification for certain environmental, safety, and health protections, including ones that have proven important to safeguarding the well-being of many Americans."

The tight timing of the lame duck, combined with the strong opposition Dudley has drawn from environmental and public interest groups, could lead President Bush to give Dudley a recess appointment, many of those tracking the nomination said.

"I would say the chance of getting her through [a Democratic-controlled] Senate next year are slim to none," said Frank O'Donnell of Clean Air Watch, which opposes Dudley's nomination.
While many tracking Dudley's nomination, on both sides of the debate, have seen a recess appointment as a possibility, "logically it seems more likely now than ever," O'Donnell added...

Public Citizen is one of more than 100 environmental and public interest groups that issued a letter to senators last week calling Dudley "the least appropriate nominee ever submitted since OIRA was created." Such opposition has slowly built since the White House announced Dudley's nomination during the August congressional recess.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and Dudley's colleagues at George Mason University's Mercatus Center are among those who have come out in support of her nomination.

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