By law, the minority party in the Senate picks two commissioners of the five-member NRC, while the White House chooses the other three, including the chairman. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, submitted Ms. Svinicki’s name to the president for renomination in December 2010 so it could be wrapped up well before her term expires in June of this year. Background and ethics checks were concluded quickly. After inexplicable delay, the White House privately committed to move on Ms. Svinicki in January but then went radio silent until Mr. McConnell - worried about the impending expiration of her term - lambasted the apparent effort to hold her back.
Confirmation fights are common enough, but what’s not is a public campaign by the majority to keep someone’s name from even being sent to the Senate for debate and a vote. Mr. Reid’s willingness to come out publicly against Ms. Svinicki’s very nomination points to collusion with the White House to kick the only female commissioner off the team. More damning are persistent allegations that Mr. Reid’s former staffer, NRC Chairman Gregory B. Jaczko, doesn’t play well with girls.
Before Mr. Jaczko was chairman, Ms. Svinicki was confirmed unanimously by a Democrat-controlled Senate in 2008, with members of both parties singing her praises. A nuclear engineer with industry experience, she served out her term with distinction and was on track to be given another until she helped blow the whistle on persistent bullying by Mr. Jaczko. Along with her fellow commissioners, Ms. Svinicki signed an October letter to then-White House Chief of Staff William M. Daley pleading for help with Mr. Jaczko’s outrageous and worsening behavior since assuming the chairmanship.
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