Murkowski Votes to Sustain Hold on Hayes

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today voted against a motion to end debate on the nomination of David Hayes to be the deputy secretary of the Department of the Interior. The 57-39 vote fell three short of what was needed to advance Hayes’ nomination. All but two Republican senators voted against cloture.
“Today’s vote simply reinforces the Senate’s advise and consent role for presidential nominees, and ensures that we can get meaningful commitments and answers regarding the nation’s energy policy,” Murkowski said.
Sens. Murkowski and Bob Bennett, R-Utah, placed a hold on Hayes over a simple issue – will the Obama administration respond to legitimate questions from Republican senators? So far, the answer has been ‘no.’
Bennett, who placed his hold two months ago, has asked Interior to conduct a review of the department’s decision to revoke 77 gas leases in Utah for which they gave factually incorrect justification. Interior has refused to conduct the review until Hayes is confirmed.
Murkowski has concerns about the direction the department has taken energy issues. Neither Murkowski or Bennett have asked the Department of the Interior to adopt or repeal any specific rule or policy, or take or repeal any specific administrative action.
Murkowski sent Interior a letter two weeks ago asking about the implementation of a series of actions that seem to be dramatically contrary to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s and President Barack Obama’s statements regarding domestic energy production.
Interior responded to the letter last night, but provided only vague and incomplete answers to Murkowski’s questions.
“This issue could be easily resolved if the administration would provide honest and specific answers to a few of my most important concerns about its plans for Alaska and the nation’s energy policy.”
A copy of Interior’s response letter and Murkowski’s statement on the Senate floor on the Hayes cloture vote are available upon request.