Will fragile Senate balance hold on nominees?
In the hours after President Obama nominated Allison Macfarlane yesterday to lead the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Republicans raised few objections -- even though she is a known critic of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository. Senate Republicans instead put their focus on moving Republican Commissioner Kristine Svinicki quickly through reconfirmation before her first term ends in a little over a month. The GOP is hoping the nomination of Macfarlane to fulfill the remainder of outgoing Chairman Gregory Jaczko's term, which runs through June 2013, could also shepherd Svinicki through smoothly. But moving both nominations along quickly means Republicans will have to keep the Yucca controversy from torpedoing the process.