Senate forces President Trump to nominate Rep. Bridenstine for NASA again

Senate forces President Trump to nominate Rep. Bridenstine for NASA again 

Posted: 9:59 am Friday, December 22nd, 2017

By Jamie Dupree

President Donald Trump’s pick to head NASA was returned to the White House by the U.S. Senate on Thursday night, as an objection under an arcane Senate rule will force the White House to decide whether to re-nominate Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) in 2018, as questions linger over whether he can muster the votes to run the U.S. space agency.

“We expect that the nomination will be refiled,” Bridenstine spokeswoman Sheryl Kaufman said in an email to my colleague Dorey Scheimer, when asked about the status of the nomination.

At the end of the first session of Congress, nominations made by a President are traditionally “held over” in the Senate – unless a Senator specifically objects – and that’s what happened to Bridenstine and dozens of other Trump nominees, big and small.

On Capitol Hill, Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) made clear the move to return Bridenstine’s nomination did not signal the end of the fight for the Oklahoma Republican.

“Senator James Lankford would like to see Jim Bridenstine quickly re-nominated by the Trump administration in January, so they can get through the confirmation process as soon as possible,” said Lankford’s spokesman, D.J. Jordan.

Bridenstine was not the biggest name on the list of nominations returned to the President, as Mr. Trump will also have to re-nominate his choice for Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar.

Also returned to the White House were 26 different judicial nominees.

There have been questions for weeks about whether Bridenstine can get to a majority in the Senate, as several GOP Senators were refusing to back the Oklahoma Congressman for the post of NASA Administrator.

Critics have said that Bridenstine is too political, and does not have a scientific background.

When Senators return for the Second Session of the 115th Congress on January 3, the GOP majority will be trimmed to 51-49, when Doug Jones is sworn in from Alabama, making it even harder for Bridenstine to be confirmed.

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