The first Obama appointee stopped on the Senate floor…What’s going on?

There is an interesting development with respect to Interior, namely that President Obama’s selected appointee did not get appointed by the Senate. Given that it is a Democratic senate and that there is a preference for deferring to presidential choices (or so I was told by my Democratic senators when I tried to get them to vote against some Bush nominees), it’s an odd outcome.

Cloture Motion; Nomination of David Hayes to be Deputy Secretary of the Interior – Vote Rejected (57-39, 3 Not Voting)
The Senate failed to get the sixty votes required to bring the nomination of David Hayes to a full vote, making him the first Obama appointee whose nomination has been stopped on the Senate floor. The nomination will likely be brought up again later in the year.

Here’s what his official biography says about him:

Mr. Hayes served as the Deputy Secretary of the Interior during the Clinton Administration. As Deputy Secretary, he was second in command at Interior under Secretary Bruce Babbitt, with statutory responsibility to serve as the Chief Operating Officer over Interior’s 70,000 employees and $10 billion budget. Mr. Hayes was nominated for the position by President Clinton, and confirmed by unanimous vote of the United States Senate. While at Interior, Mr. Hayes played a lead role in many of the Department’s most difficult and important matters with a primary focus on the acquisition and protection of threatened lands (e.g. acquisition of the Headwaters old-growth redwood forest in Northern California); the restoration of threatened ecosystems (e.g. the Bay-Delta ecosystem restoration project in California); the introduction of modern water management approaches in the west (e.g. the Colorado River initiatives undertaken by the Administration); the negotiation of habitat conservation plans under the Endangered Species Act; energy-related issues associated with federal lands and resources (e.g. oil and gas development, hydropower licensing, etc.); and the settlement of long-standing Indian water and land disputes.

Mr. Hayes has served in a variety of leadership positions in the environmental, energy and resources field, including Chairman of the Board of the Environmental Law Institute, a nonprofit research and publication center for environmental law and management professionals. He also served as the Vice Chair of the Board of American Rivers and was a Board member of RESOLVE and the Natural Heritage Institute.

In the fall of 2007, Mr. Hayes served as Consulting Professor at Stanford University’s Woods Institute for the Environment. While at Stanford, he directed a Woods Institute dialogue project on carbon offsets. The results of his work at Stanford were published by the Center for American Progress. Mr. Hayes also was a Senior Fellow at the World Wildlife Fund, with a focus on climate change matters, and a Senior Fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute, the think tank that is affiliated with the Democratic Leadership Council, where he served on PPI’s energy task force.

So he managed to get unanimous approval by Republicans under Clinton, but cannot get through the new Senate. Why not? He needed 60 votes.


7 Responses

  1. The HCN has a good background on this – seemingly it’s more internal Republican politics, then anything else – see

  2. The whole thing was defused by Ken Salazar according to's-nomination-as-deputy-DOI-secretary/

  3. David Hayeses first job? Go to Utah and fix the auction mess up – it’ll keep Sen Bennett happy at least see

  4. David Hayes goes to Utah … see

  5. These are great links.

  6. and … let’s go back and review them all over again.
    US Interior Dept Orders Air Review of 77 Utah Oil, Gas Leases

  7. and so the report comes out – see
    “The interdisciplinary team recommended leasing 17 of the parcels, deferring 52 parcels, and withdrawing 8 parcels. Deferral means that the parcels may not be leased until necessary corrections are made to the associated leasing documents, or until conditions are such that leasing would assist in the orderly development of the oil and gas resource. Deferral could also mean removal of the parcels from leasing. The recommendation to remove 8 parcels from leasing was the direct result of field reviews that found that leasing was inappropriate due to critical resource values and /or the apparent lack of net benefit to be gained from leasing.” see report at

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