Landrieu: Lew can stew

Landrieu: Lew can stew

Jack Lew, President Obama’s nominee to be the next head of the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, isn’t getting confirmed any time soon, according to the Democratic senator holding up his nomination.

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) said Tuesday that she will continue to use her hold on Lew’s nomination as leverage to try to get the administration to expedite drilling permits in the Gulf of Mexico. She also admitted that, although her hold has been in place since Lew was nominated in July, her strategy hasn’t worked yet.

"I’m not seeing the kind of progress on permitting that I need to lift the hold," Landrieu told reporters at the Capitol building on Tuesday. "But this is the only thing that I have found that can actually get the attention of this administration in a way that might result in getting permits in the Gulf."

The nomination of Lew, who is still serving as deputy secretary of state for management, is not directly related to the drilling issue at all, she said. And she has no problem with Lew himself.

"It has nothing to do with Jack Lew. I would support Jack Lew under normal circumstances," said Landrieu. "It’s the only way I think I might be able to get the administration’s attention, everything else has failed."

She said the administration needs to make it clear what it is expecting of the energy industry, and set regulations that won’t keep being changed or updated.

"Punish BP, don’t punish Shell, Chevron, and everybody else for what this one company did. And if you’re going to wait until industry has every ‘I’ dotted and ‘t’ crossed… before you can let the drilling move forward, we are going to be waiting for two or three years."

When asked by The Cable if she has considered the damage done to the White House’s effort to construct a budget due to a lack of an OMB director, Landrieu said that’s not her problem.

"You would think they would care enough about that to get permits issued in the Gulf," she said.