Nuclear Regulatory Panel Nominees Caught in Partisan Senate Spat

By Rebecca Kern

The nomination of a Democrat to continue on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has become caught in a partisan disagreement over whether his nomination should be combined with those of two Republican nominees awaiting Senate action.

The Environment and Public Works Committee approved the nominations of Republicans Annie Caputo and David Wright as NRC commissioners in June, but the full Senate hasn’t acted on them yet. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), the committee’s ranking member, has supported pairing the two nominees with Jeffery Baran to serve as a second term as a Democratic commissioner.

Carper has expressed opposition to confirming Caputo and Wright until Baran’s nomination can be confirmed as well, a Senate aide told Bloomberg BNA Oct. 4.

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), the panel’s chairman, said at an Oct. 4 hearing that Democrats have “refused to advance” Caputo and Wright until Baran is confirmed to a new five-year term. Barrasso called the additional five-year term nomination for Baran “a big ask.”

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) told Bloomberg BNA that the committee plans to vote on Baran’s nomination, as well as those of four Environmental Protection Agency nominees, after the Senate returns from its Columbus Day recess.

Baran has served as a Democratic commissioner for the NRC since October 2014 and was nominated for another five-year term from July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2023. NRC commissioners serve staggered five-year terms.

—With assistance from Tiffany Stecker.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rebecca Kern in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rachael Daigle at

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