Senate Back in Session, Casts First Non-Coronavirus Vote since May to Confirm New Inspector General Nuclear of the Regulatory Commission

May 11, 2020

by ASME.org

Last week, the Senate voted 87-0 to confirm President Trump’s nominee Robert Feitel as the new inspector general of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The inspector general will be responsible for overseeing and addressing potential waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement within the NRC. The nomination was confirmed by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee back in December. Despite little opposition to the nomination, some Senators have questioned Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) decision to bring the chamber back into session in the midst of a pandemic to vote on confirmations. While Senators return to Washington, DC, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has reiterated that the House will not be called back into session until May 11 at the earliest.

Prior to his confirmation, Feitel was a trial attorney at the Department of Justice. He worked in the Capital Case Section, which assists cases involving potential death sentencing. He also worked as an assistant U.S. attorney in the criminal division at the U.S Attorney’s Office for the, and in 2010 was detailed to the Justice Department’s counterterrorism unit.

The confirmation vote marks the first vote non-coronavirus related vote since May. The Senate continued to hold additional confirmation hearings throughout the week. Voting itself looked quite different, as Senators would enter the chamber floor in small groups to cast their votes, and then immediately leave to allow the next batch of Senators to come in. While the Senate is in session, most Congressional staffers are continuing to work remotely.

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