Democrats succeeded Wednesday in pushing forward the nomination of Cass Sunstein, the controversial Harvard University law professor who has been tapped by President Obama to head the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.
In a 63-35 vote Wednesday evening, the Senate voted to end the debate on Sunstein’s nomination, moving Sunstein one step closer to a full vote in the Senate.
Sunstein has been tapped for one of the more wonky jobs in the White House – reviewing the effectiveness of federal regulations. But his nomination has caught fire with conservatives, led by Fox News host Glenn Beck, who have highlighted some of his more liberal positions on animal rights and end of life care. Sunstein has been described by Republicans as one of the many Obama “czars,” but because he requires Senate confirmation, he doesn’t really fit the mold of a “czar” who wield enormous powers with little oversight.
Conservatives are particularly incensed over statements Sunstein has made advocating for greater regulation of hunting rights.
While Republicans will have little ability to stop Sunstein’s nomination, conservatives are feeling energized after their successful push for the resignation of White House green jobs adviser Van Jones, who stepped down from his post this weekend after it was revealed that he had dabbled with 9/11 conspiracy groups and had made inflammatory statements about Republicans.
The heated debate over Sunstein began on the Senate floor just hours before President Obama sets foot in the Capitol to deliver a nationally televised address on health care to Congress.
On his Twitter account Tuesday, Beck blasted Democrats for “rushing” Sunstein’s vote through the Senate.
“Dems likely to vote on Sunstein’s nomination TOMORROW; they are afraid of WatchDogs; every day increases their risk of losing this vote,” Beck wrote.