The Senate's final hours and the fate of an Arkansas nominee | Arkansas Blog

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Senate's final hours and the fate of an Arkansas nominee

Posted By on Sun, Dec 14, 2014 at 9:41 AM

click to enlarge COLETTE HONORABLE: Awaits Senate vote.
  • COLETTE HONORABLE: Awaits Senate vote.
The unsuccessful effort by Sens. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, to delay Senate passage of an omnibus spending bill created an opportunity for Democratic Sen. Harry Reid.

Thanks to their delay, he was able to begin pushing about 20 presidential nominees — judges and some controversial other appointees — through in the final hours of this Congress. The process will be slowed by procedural votes, but some Republicans think Reid ultimately will succeed.

So far, I don't see an indication that the name of Arkansas Public Service Commission Chair Colette Honorable is on Reid's list of last-minute confirmations. She's been nominated by President Obama to a seat on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

If Honorable isn't confirmed, her confirmation process will have to be renewed next year. She's non-cohtrovdersial, but the delay has Arkansas significance.

Were Honorable to be confirmed this week, Gov. Mike Beebe conceivably would have time to name someone to complete her term on the Arkansas PSC. Incoming Gov. Asa Hutchinson undoubtedly would prefer to have the PSC appointment be someone of his choosing. This dynamic explains the speculation that Republicans have been quietly sending word to Washington that Republicans should not move quickly on Honorable. True or not, a delay works in Hutchinson's favor.

Honorable's term runs through 2017 If Hutchinson gets that appointment, his appointees would quickly constitute the majority of the three-member commission. Commissioner Olan Reeves was appointed to a six-year term Jan. 15, 2009, which puts his vacancy open two days after Hutchinson takes office. Commissioner Elana Wills was appointed to the PSC by Beebe in 2011.

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