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"Due to the administration's unwillingness to reverse or modify its policy that has halted all deep-water and nearly all shallow-water energy exploration, I cannot in good conscience allow this nomination to proceed until I receive a commitment from Mr. Lew, the president or another senior economic advisor to reverse these policies, which have been so detrimental to working families across the Gulf Coast," Landrieu wrote.
The administration put a six-month hold on deep-water drilling in May, weeks after the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that sent crude pouring into the Gulf for months. The moratorium is set to expire Nov. 30.
Kenneth Baer, communications director for the White House budget office, said it was critical that Lew be confirmed quickly in order to fill the position left empty since Peter Orszag stepped down in July.
"Jack Lew has received overwhelming, bipartisan support from senators across the spectrum in both committees," Baer wrote in an e-mailed statement. "Especially during this critical time in our economy and in our fiscal situation, the Senate should move quickly to vote on his confirmation before it recesses at the end of the month."
Under congressional rules, a lone senator can block a nominee from advancing to the Senate floor
Read Landrieu's letter here.
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