Bridenstine Narrowly Survives Vote to Vote on His Nomination

Rep. Jim Bridenstine

The Senate has scheduled a vote on the nomination of Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) to become the next NASA Administrator on Thursday at 1:45 p.m. EDT.

Tomorrow’s showdown comes after a procedural vote to end debate on Wednesday that showed how sharply divided the Senate is about Bridenstine’s nomination. The measure passed 50-48, with all Republicans voting in the affirmative and all Democrats voting against it.

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) initially voted against the nomination, resulting in a 49-49 tie. However, he later switched his vote to the affirmative. Vice President Mike Pence could have broken the tie, but he was not in the capital on Wednesday.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) had previously questioned Bridenstine’s nomination. However, he voted to end debate.

Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) did not vote on Wednesday. McCain is undergoing cancer treatment; Duckworth gave birth to a daughter last week.

  • Kirk

    Will Senator Duckworth be there tomorrow? If not, wouldn’t a 49-49 vote (party line but for Sen. Rubio) be tie-broken by the Vice President?

  • Steve Ksiazek

    My terrible senator is on maternity leave. She better not show her face in the Senate for another 6 weeks.

  • Kirk

    She did say that she was on unofficial maternity leave but would return to the Senate when her vote was needed. I don’t know how necessary she views torpedoing Mr. Bridenstin’s nomination.

    If she is absent, I wonder if Senator Rubio will vote yea and figure that a 50-48 confirmation beats a tie-broken one where he was voting against the party line for no end benefit, and also, if Mr. Bridenstin’s nomination was ensured anyhow, whether a yea vote would be a step toward building a working relationship.

  • Steve Ksiazek

    That is NOT how maternity leave works. Check with your HR department.

    Of course, she also intends on bringing her child to the floor of the Senate during work hours instead of dropping the kid off at daycare like a normal parent would. I’m counting the days until I can vote against her again.

  • Kirk

    The Senate doesn’t have official maternity leave, and since it is not a normal job, in that attendance is entirely optional, I suppose she can craft maternity leave in whatever form she wishes.

    She’s up for re-election in 2020, right? Do you expect that her customized maternity leave will have a net negative result on her support, or is the overall political climate such that it will actually be viewed positively?

  • ThomasLMatula

    Yes, Senators are above the majority of the laws they pass to regulate private industry. So Senator Duckworth is free to do whatever she wants and the only check and balance is by the voters when its election time for her.

  • Steve Ksiazek

    She won her seat because our previous senator, Mark Kirk, didn’t fully recover from a stroke he suffered. He was basically missing from the Senate for an entire year plus. But, the Democrats wanted their puppet, and ultra-conservatives gave Kirk the RINO label, along with complaining about a lack of effort / passion. I guess it doesn’t much matter. Our state suffers even when we had a bunch of Chicago pols in the executive branch, plus Tricky Dicky Durbin as the #3 in the Senate. We certainly can’t expect anything from a junior senator other than party line votes.