A political fight over a usually obscure commissioner's post reignited on Tuesday with the news that the White House will reappoint Republican Kristine Svinicki to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
President Obama announced his intent to renominate Svinicki, who was originally appointed by President Bush in March 2008, in a White House statement on Tuesday afternoon.
Now the spotlight turns back to two senior Democrats who both oppose her renomination: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., who has her hands full with the bicameral negotiations over the transportation bill.
NRC, which is tasked with maintaining the safety of the nation's 104 nuclear power plants, has emerged as a political lightning rod in this administration ever since Obama appointed Gregory Jaczko, a former Reid aide, to the chairman's seat in 2009.
In order for Svinicki to return to NRC after her current term expires on June 30, Boxer must hold a hearing on her nomination and then the full Senate must vote to confirm her. There are exceptions, though. The committee waived the right to hold a hearing on the confirmation of Jaczko as chairman, according to Matt Dempsey, spokesman for Environment and Public Works ranking member James Inhofe, R-Okla.