Committee approves Granholm with bipartisan support

Energy Secretary nominee Jennifer Granholm easily moved out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee this morning on a bipartisan 13-4 vote.

Lawmakers will now race to see whether they can get her approved by the full Senate before the chamber gets bogged down by impeachment next week. That vote has not yet been scheduled.

The former Michigan governor earned bipartisan praise from lawmakers on the committee. Incoming Chairman Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) heralded her leadership during the 2008 financial crisis and its effects on the auto industry.

“She helped save the auto industry. She helped diversify Michigan’s economy. She brought in new investments and new industry. She created new jobs, and she left no worker behind,” Manchin said. “And I know she will continue to apply that mindset at the national level.”

Every Democrat voted for Granholm along with Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, James Risch of Idaho, Steve Daines of Montana and John Hoeven of North Dakota.

Four Republicans did note vote for her nomination: new ENR Committee ranking member John Barrasso of Wyoming and Sens. Mike Lee of Utah, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi.

Although Granholm’s answers in support of carbon capture, advanced nuclear and U.S. energy production met his threshold for support and likely means she will be confirmed, Barrasso said he could not vote yes following the Biden administration’s executive actions on energy.

Republicans have fumed at executive orders canceling the Keystone XL pipeline and limiting new oil and gas leasing on federal lands.

“I cannot support a Biden administration agenda that throws my constituents out of work and kills the economies of the communities in which they live,” Barrasso said. “I can’t in good conscience vote to approve his nominee for secretary of Energy.”

Such a Republican energy backlash could portend trouble for other Biden energy and environment nominees, including Interior pick Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) and EPA nominee Michael Regan.

Barrasso did leave room for collaboration on his energy innovation interests, saying he and Granholm can “work together closely on these efforts when she is at the Department of Energy.”

Granholm vowed to work for every American at DOE, including in the states of the four senators who voted against her.

“Even if you didn’t vote for me, know that I will work for your people and your state as well,” Granholm said in a tweet following the vote. “I know we can work together, and I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves.”