***SEE UPDATES BELOW***
CQPolitics reports that not all of the confirmation hearings have gone smoothly for Obama appointees and that we can add two more to the list of confirmations with big enough problems to be delayed:
The confirmation of Obama's choices for EPA administrator, former New Jersey environmental chief Lisa P. Jackson, and White House Council on Environmental Quality chairwoman, Nancy H. Sutley, were delayed because a senator has put a hold on their nominations, a Democratic aide said. The identity of the senator holding up the nominations and the reason for blocking them could not be immediately determined.
TalkingPointsMemo reports that Sen. John Barrasso says he's not the one holding up the environmental appointees' nominations, which leaves questions as to who's really doing it and why:
When I talked to Barrasso outside the Senate chamber, he said he had been on an airplane when Senate Democrats first sought to unanimously confirm Jackson and Sutley earlier this week. Barrasso's staff then objected to the move on his behalf -- but once he talked to Browner this morning, the senator said, his concerns were resolved.
All this leaves one huge question unanswered: Who was the Republican senator objecting to approving Jackson and Sutley on the Senate floor two hours ago? If Barrasso and Inhofe really are copacetic, we may just have an anonymous obstructor on our hands after all.
EARLIER TODAY: The Wall Street Journal reported that those delaying EPA designate Lisa Jackson were no longer anonymous. Their suspect: Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming. From WSJ Online:
Entering his second week in the White House, Obama will still not have secretaries of commerce or health and human services, or an attorney general. Republican Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso interceded Wednesday night to slow down EPA administrator Lisa Jackson's confirmation as well.
Unlike many of the presidential appointments, Jackson's confirmation was never a foregone conclusion. Here are some of the headlines relating to her appointment: