Lu confirmed for Labor #2; Whitaker for Colombia

The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Chris Lu, White House cabinet secretary during President Obama’s first term, to be deputy secretary of Labor. Lu, confirmed on a voice vote, is apparently only the second Asian American deputy secretary of a cabinet department  in history. (Elaine Chao, former deputy secretary of Transportation in the Bush I administration, was the first.)

Lu’s wife, Kathryn Thomson, was confirmed on Thursday as general counsel of the Department of Transportation. (Maybe the first couple ever confirmed within a week.)

The Senate also confirmed a new ambassador to Colombia: career Foreign Service officer Kevin Whitaker, formerly deputy chief of mission in Venezuela and more recently deputy assistant secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs. It was a close 99-0 roll call vote.

And  career federal prosecutor John Carlin, who had been chief of staff  to former FBI director Robert S. Mueller and more recently acting assistant Attorney General for National Security  was confirmed 99-1 to be assistant Attorney General for National Security.

The one “no” vote was Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), whose spokeswoman e-mailed that Heller was “concerned  with comments made by Mr. Carlin indicating that he believes the NSA’s bulk data collection program is a lawful practice.” Heller believes the program “violates  Americans’ privacy rights and could not in good conscience support this nominee.”

 

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.
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