Animal rights views slow OMB regulatory nominee
By Dan Friedman CongressDaily June 15, 2009
The nomination of legal scholar Cass Sunstein to head the government's top regulatory office has stalled in the Senate amid farm and ranching groups' concerns about Sunstein's past advocacy of animal rights.
President Obama tapped Sunstein, a Harvard law professor, to head the Office of Management and Budget's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, which clears, revises or rejects new regulations proposed by the major federal agencies.
The nomination is among about two dozen that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., last week accused Republicans of holding up. Some Democratic aides and senators said. Republicans are blocking the nominations collectively to protest Democrats' push for quick confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor or to hinder the administration.
"Everyone knows what is going on," said Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. "You are trying to make the administration as crippled as you possibly can by limiting the number of people you have."
But Sunstein's case appears to be an example of individual senators with specific, local concerns using their power to hold up a nominee.
In May, nine farm and ranch groups that produce products such as milk and veal -- including the American Farm Bureau Federation -- wrote to Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and others to "express concern" about three academic papers in which Sunstein urged regulation of animals used in industries, including agriculture. Read More
The position that Sunstein has been nominated for has been called the most powerful position in Washington, DC that no one has ever heard of. Susntein has made it very clear in the past that he is not a fan of hunting or animal agriculture and has called for burdensome regulations on both industries. The Senators that are holding up this nomination have good reason to take this slow. Nothing less than our domestic supply of food is at stake.