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Steven Chu Confirmation Hearing

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009; 4:41 PM

SEN. JEFF BINGAMAN (D-N.M.): OK. Why don't we get started?

The committee meets this morning to consider the nomination of Do Steven Chu to be the secretary of energy. President-elect Obama will not officially nominate Dr. Chu until the new president is sworn in himself this next Tuesday.

It's customary, however, for the senate to confirm non- controversial cabinet nominations at the beginning of a new administration by unanimous consent without first referring them to committee. And it's customary to do so immediately following the inaugural ceremony.

We extended this courtesy to seven of President Bush's nominees eight years ago and to some of President Clinton's nominees 16 years ago.

In keeping with the past practices here in the committee, I've scheduled today's hearing on Dr. Chu's nomination and scheduled another hearing on Thursday on Senator Salazar's nomination in order to give members an opportunity to ask questions to the nominees and consider the nominations prior to the inauguration.

Unless there's serious opposition to one or both of the nominees, and I'm certainly not aware of any; it's my home that the committee might also be able to take a vote on the nominations later this week as well.


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