For weeks now, the Senate (at the bidding of a few senators) has been delaying the confirmations of John Holdren to lead the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and Jane Lubchenco to lead the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The delays have infuriated scientists because Holdren and Lubchenco are highly respected researchers whose nominations have been widely applauded. Indeed the "holds" placed on their nominations had nothing to do with them, but reflected a longstanding Senate practice in which lawmakers block nominations from going forward as a way of gaining attention for other issues. Sen. Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, for example, blocked the nominations because of unrelated concerns he has about U.S. policy on Cuba. On Thursday, however, the Senate finally and uneventfully confirmed both officials. Holdren and Lubchenco each issued statements Friday welcoming their confirmations and pledging to make their decisions in office based on sound science.
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