The Senate this evening confirmed two new members for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, taking a key step toward returning a quorum to the agency, which has been essentially paralyzed for six months.
The chamber voted by voice vote for Neil Chatterjee, an aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and for Robert Powelson, a Pennsylvania state regulator.
FERC has been without a voting quorum since Chairman Norman Bay resigned in February, and while staff work has continued on many fronts, the agency has been unable to issue major decisions.
There are two more commissioners waiting in the wings to fill the traditionally bipartisan, five-member body.
President Trump this week formally nominated Kevin McIntyre, an energy lawyer at the firm Jones Day, and Richard Glick, a Democratic Senate aide. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is planning a hearing on them on Sept. 7.
If confirmed, those two will join Republicans Chatterjee and Powelson and sitting Chairwoman Cheryl LaFleur, a Democrat. McIntyre has been tapped to take over as chairman once he passes through the Senate.