As many of you know, I've been closely following the complex situation involving President Obama's nominees for Science Advisor and NOAA Administrator. Early last week, we learned that both John Holdren (the Science Advisor designate) and Jane Lubchenco (the NOAA Administrator nominee) were stuck in Senate limbo, with no confirmation votes scheduled as a result of one or more "anonymous holds" that were placed on the nominations.
Initial reports indicated that holds had been placed by Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), in an attempt to gain leverage for an unrelated issue. Later in the week, new reports suggested that there were multiple holds on the nominations. On Friday, both Talking Points Memo and Climate Progress reported - apparently independently - that Senator Menendez did not, as of that point in time, have any hold on any science nominee. They report, however, that the nomination is still being held up.
As I've already said - possibly to the point of inducing tedium - the scientific community needs to keep pressure on the Senate. There are so many other things going on in Washington right now that this issue is not going to get much more attention from the traditional media than it already has.
With no known culprit for the holds, the single best place to focus attention is going to be Majority Leader Harry Reid's office. Holds or no holds, he can schedule a vote on these nominees. Contact information can be found below the fold. Please take a minute or two to contact him and ask him to schedule a vote so that we can get these nominees on the job.
Here's the contact information, including the email form and the Nevada address of one of his Nevada offices:
Email (web form)
DC Phone Number: 202-224-3542
Nevada address and phone:
600 East William St, #302
Carson City, NV 89701
Phone: 775-882-REID (7343)
I did a post on this for my blog - Progressive Alaska - and for firedoglake. I didn't speculate who it is, though. I received several emails about possibilities. The one that seemed most likely was LA Senator David Vitter. I've now gotten confirmation from another Senator's staff that it is indeed Vitter that has put the hold on thse nominations, but the person cannot tell me why.
Today TPM is reporting that they can confirm the hold did not come from either Martinez or Vitter. No clues given where it did come from.
The other possibility might be for some SciBlogger with press credentials to start a campaign to identify who has holds where, as was done with the hold put by (now ex-)Senator Stevens for the on-line Federal spending database: nail down a denial from every other Senator.