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Sep 23, 2010 4:56 PM

Landrieu Will Block Senate Vote to Protest Moratorium

WASHINGTON (AP) - Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu said Thursday she
will block a Senate vote to confirm the nominee to a key White
House economic office to protest the six-month moratorium on
deepwater oil and gas drilling in the Gulf.
Landrieu, a Democrat, said she will object to a vote on Jacob
Lew to head the Office of Management and Budget until the
administration lifts or significantly modifies the moratorium
imposed last May after the BP oil spill.
"I cannot support further action on Mr. Lew's nomination to be
a key economic advisor to the president until I am convinced that
the president and his administration understand the detrimental
impacts that the actual and de facto moratoria continue to have on
the Gulf Coast," she said in a letter to Senate Majority Leader
Harry Reid.
Lew, who also served as OMB chief during the Clinton
administration, was approved by the Senate Budget Committee
Thursday on a 22-1 vote and appeared headed for easy confirmation
by the full Senate. President Barack Obama nominated him in July
after former OMB director Peter Orszag resigned.
But under Senate rules, one senator can object to a nominee or a
bill advancing to the Senate floor. It takes 60 votes to overcome
such an objection.
Landrieu has been a vocal critic of the moratorium, saying it is
costing the Gulf Coast tens of thousands of jobs.
A federal report released at a Senate hearing last week said the
moratorium likely caused a temporary loss of 8,000 to 12,000 jobs
in the Gulf region, including about 2,000 on deepwater rigs.
Landrieu said that while Lew "clearly possesses the expertise
necessary to serve as one of the president's most important
economic advisors, I found that he lacked sufficient concern for
the host of economic challenges confronting the Gulf Coast."

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