What Is She Thinking?

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September 29, 2010 5:54 a.m.

Louisiana’s Democratic senator has put a hold on the nomination of Jacob Lew to be the new director of the President’s Office of Management and Budget, even though Lew sailed through committee on a 22-1 vote, is supremely qualified for the post (he held it under Bill Clinton), and we’re in the midst of ongoing economic and fiscal crises. To her (sorta) credit, Mary Landrieu has been very upfront about why she’s holding him up: The oil state senator wants the Obama Administration to end the moratorium on deepwater drilling. Period.It’s a pretty remarkable situation, especially since OMB doesn’t have anything to do with offshore drilling policy. It’d be like holding up education secretary’s nomination until we withdraw from Afghanistan.

With the Senate set to adjourn tomorrow it looks unlikely that Lew will be confirmed before the midterm elections. Then he has to take his chances in a lame-duck session after the election. But if Landrieu’s early defection is any indicator, all bets will be off if, as expected, Dems lose seats in the election. Meanwhile, OMB will still be leaderless. Christina Bellantoni explains the situation.

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