Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said on Thursday that she plans to hold a confirmation hearing for Republican Kristine Svinicki — renominated by President Obama this week for a new term on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission — before Svinicki's current term expires June 30.
Boxer, who has expressed reservations about whether Svinicki should continue at the NRC, told National Journal that a hearing is necessary because "I have some questions about her record."
Boxer said she hasn't set a date for the hearing yet, since she currently has her hands full with bicameral negotiations over the transportation bill, but that it will "definitely" take place before Svinicki's term expires.
Svinicki's nomination has been the source of political squabbling on Capitol Hill since it became known last month that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., was urging the White House not to renominate her. But with the White House sending over her paperwork earlier this week, Svinicki's fate is now in the hands of Boxer, whose committee oversees NRC nominations.
Reid and Boxer have said they oppose Svinicki's reappointment on the grounds that she misled Congress in a 2007 hearing about her work on the now-defunct nuclear-waste repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, which Reid has vehemently opposed. But neither Boxer nor Reid have said they would take their allegations any further. Both lawmakers have also questioned Svinicki's safety record as a commissioner, but have not provided specific details about those concerns.