This was a vote on confirming President Obama’s nomination of John Bryson to be Secretary of Commerce.
Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.VA.) urged support for Bryson’s nomination: “…I rise in strong support of John Bryson of California, whom President Obama has nominated to be his Secretary of Commerce. Mr. Bryson's nomination comes at a very critical time for our country and for our economy. No one disputes the Secretary of Commerce is an important part of the President's economic team. That person is now missing in the Commerce Department. Commerce has to do with jobs. There is nobody there. That dictates that we have a leader with strong, real-world experience. This position has been vacant since Ambassador Locke left for China in late July. It is stunning to think, with what the country is going through, we don't have a Cabinet Secretary who can attend to manufacturing and other kinds of jobs and job-related efforts that he will do.…My colleagues should appreciate that Mr. Bryson's confirmation comes at an important crossroads for the country and for the Commerce Department itself. The challenges obviously are very important: high unemployment, a slow economic recovery. The Secretary of Commerce plays a major role in promoting jobs and our economy. But to do that, he has to be in place and on the job. If confirmed, as I believe he deserves to be, he will have to face these deep challenges and looks forward to so doing.”
Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) opposed this nomination: “I think this nominee is actually the wrong person at the worst time. At a time when the unemployment rate is 9.1 percent, when 14 million Americans are looking for work, I would think the president would want to respond appropriately and nominate someone to lead the Commerce Department whose record was consistent with the mission outlined for the Commerce Department. That mission is to promote job creation, to promote economic growth, to promote sustainable development, and improve standards of living for all Americans. So I would think the president would want to nominate someone who has a record of robust job creation. Instead, the president has nominated someone whose political advocacy is, in my opinion, detached from the financial hardships facing tens of millions of Americans today. Most Americans recognize that cap and trade [a policy that permits companies emitting higher pollution levels than the law would ordinarily allow to continue those emissions by purchasing pollution “credits” from entities emitting lower levels]
--or, as I call it, cap and tax--is job killing. It is a job-killing energy tax. Yet this nominee has repeatedly advocated for cap-and-trade legislation. He even called the Waxman-Markey legislation a moderate but acceptable bill. There are colleagues on the other side of the aisle who support that legislation. I do not. I view it as a tax. The nominee even went so far as to say the legislation was good precisely because it was a good way to hide--to hide--a carbon tax. But is that the role of the Secretary of Commerce: to hide taxes on American businesses, on American families, to make American businesses less competitive, to make it more expensive for them to hire new workers?”
The Senate confirmed Bryson’s nomination by a vote of 74-26. All 53 Democrats present and 21 Republicans voted “yea.” 26 Republicans voted “nay.” As a result, the Senate confirmed John Bryson to be Secretary of Commerce.