James Danly, general counsel for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), who was nominated in October by President Trump to become a member of the Commission, filling a Republican vacancy on the Commission, was approved by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on March 3. Should Mr. Danly be confirmed by the full Senate – which is expected – FERC will then have a 3-1 Republican majority. One of those Republican members, Bernard McNamee, whose current term expires in June, has indicated he will not seek reappointment. Mr. Danly’s nomination was approved on a 12-8 vote with all 11 Republican members plus Ranking Minority Member Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) voting to confirm.
Sen. Manchin, while supporting Mr. Danley’s nomination, expressed frustration that the White House has yet to nominate someone to fill the remaining Democrat seat on FERC, which became vacant last August with the departure of Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur. In a statement released after the vote, Sen. Manchin said:
“I am disappointed we are advancing the nomination for the Republican seat on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission without pairing Mr. Danly’s nomination with a nomination to fill the Democratic seat that has been vacant since last August.
“Unless we fill the vacant Democratic seat, we will again be faced with a bare quorum of three Commissioners even after Mr. Danly is confirmed, once Mr. McNamee’s term expires. Moreover, filling the Republican seat while leaving the Democratic seat vacant is not in keeping with the longstanding practice of this Committee or the need to keep the Commission bipartisan.”