August 7, 2017

U.S. Senate Listens To MSCI And Its Allies, Confirms Key Energy And Labor Nominations

Last week, the Metals Service Center Institute (MSCI) signed a coalition letter to U.S. Senate leaders organized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce asking that the chamber “take expeditious steps to ensure the timely confirmation of pending nominees to administration positions.” Approximately 220 nominations were pending in the Senate at the time the letter was sent. The letter argued, “The slow pace of confirmations is depriving agencies across the government of critical leadership and in the case of independent agencies, the quorum necessary to conduct critical business.”

Senate leaders listened, and confirmed several pending nominations last week. Specifically, last Wednesday night, the U.S. Senate confirmed Marvin Kaplan to become the fourth member of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The vote was 50 to 48. MSCI’s partners at the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace worked tirelessly to ensure Kaplan received a vote before the August recess. In a statement CDW noted that “with its balance restored” the NLRB can now “operate in a manner that is fair to workers, unions and employers.” The Senate also acted on energy nominations last week.

As MSCI members know, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has been without a quorum—and unable to do its work—for several months. Last Thursday, the U.S. Senate confirmed Robert Powelson and Neil Chatterjee for the FERC, restoring quorum. MSCI’s partners at the Energy Equipment and Infrastructure Alliance (EEIA) also worked hard to ensure the Senate considered these nominations before the August recess and EEIA President and CEO Toby Mack issued a statement after the two were confirmed. Mack argued, “This is a win for workers across the energy supply chain, and every American that benefits from access to affordable energy” and said, “We’re pleased to have played a leading role to get these important officials confirmed so we can get moving again on job creation and building the modern energy infrastructure our country so desperately needs.”

Powelson and Chatterjee are expected to be sworn in this week.

As Politico’s “Morning Energy” noted, more than $13 billion in projects, expected to generate more than 23,000 construction jobs, had been on hold until FERC quorum was restored.

Despite last week’s success, the Senate still has a lot of work to do. The U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will consider two more FERC nominees, Robert McIntyre and Richard Glick, on September 7. William Emanuel, a Republican nominee who will serve as the fifth and final member of the board, is still waiting for Senate confirmation. That vote is likely to happen after Congress’s August recess. MSCI members can use the Coalition for the Democratic Workplace’s grassroots portal to write their senators asking them to vote for Emanuel when the chamber returns in September. Click here to act.