Nov. 15--President Donald Trump's pick to succeed Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, Dan Brouillette, received broad support Thursday during his nomination hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
Brouillette, currently the deputy secretary of energy, was lauded by senators on both sides of the aisle and faced little resistance and probing.
Committee Chairwoman Sen. Lisa Murkowski, in her opening statement, said Brouillette has done an "excellent" job as the Department of Energy's second in command. The Alaska Republican has previously said Brouillette is a great fit for the top spot, and that she "strongly" supports his nomination.
Sens. Ted Cruz and Bill Cassidy, Republicans representing Texas and Louisiana, respectively, spoke favorably of Brouillette on Thursday.
Cruz is not a member of the energy and natural resources panel. Cassidy is.
"Many of you know Dan as a dedicated advocate for American energy," Cruz said, sitting next to Brouillette. "To those who don't yet know him well, I can tell you that he is eminently qualified and will do an exceptional job as the next secretary of the Department of Energy."
Trump officially nominated Brouillette on Nov. 7. The president foreshadowed the move weeks prior on Twitter.
Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, the ranking member on the committee, believes Trump chose wisely.
"He knows the department," Manchin said of Brouillette. "He knows Congress. And he knows the energy issues facing our nation."
The nomination comes as Perry, the current energy secretary, plans to leave his post Dec. 1. The former governor of Texas is snarled in House Democrats' impeachment inquiry; he was subpoenaed early last month, and his name has been raised many times during closed-door depositions.
Some senators on Thursday asked Brouillette if he had any ties to impeachment-related matters, namely in Ukraine. He denied having any role.
Before becoming the deputy secretary of energy, Brouillette was the senior vice president and head of public policy at the United Services Automobile Association, an insurance giant commonly referred to as USAA. Before that, he was a vice president at Ford Motor Co.
Brouillette -- who, if confirmed by the Senate, would oversee billions of dollars of energy and nuclear weapons spending -- is no stranger to Aiken County and the greater two-state region.
The deputy secretary earlier this year visited the Savannah River Site. Brouillette also visited USC Aiken, where he sat down with the chancellor, Dr. Sandra Jordan, and in part discussed the Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative, a still-in-the-works facility.
Brouillette, like Perry, has also been to Plant Vogtle in nearby Waynesboro, Georgia.
In a spurt of Twitter posts after the nomination hearing, Brouillette asked for "favorable consideration." Murkowski, closing the hearing Thursday afternoon, said she would try to move Brouillette through the process expeditiously.
No senators voiced opposition.
Colin Demarest covers the Savannah River Site, the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Nuclear Security Administration and government in general. Follow him on Twitter: @demarest_colin
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