Republicans quickly move to block Obama’s Commerce secretary pick

Paul Conner Executive Editor
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The ink was barely dry on President Barack Obama’s nomination for Secretary of Commerce before congressional Republicans promised to oppose the pick.

California Rep. Darrel Issa, chairman of the House oversight committee, took aim at John Bryson, the nominee, calling him a “green evangelist.”

Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Inhofe promised to work “actively” to defeat Bryson’s nomination. Inhofe, ranking member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, said Tuesday that Obama’s choice shows “that he has no intention of backing down from his job-killing agenda.”

In a statement, Issa decried Obama’s choice to head the Department of Commerce, the government agency charged with creating jobs and economic growth.

“With gas prices at nearly four dollars a gallon, it’s certainly eye-catching that President Obama has nominated a founder of an organization that opposes efforts to increase domestic oil production to serve as the nation’s key advocate for our economic interests,” Issa said in the statement. “The nomination of John Bryson to lead the Department of Commerce seems deeply out-of-touch with our current energy challenge.”

Bryson is a director of The Boeing Company, The Walt Disney Company and Coda Automotive, Inc., and is a senior advisor to KKR, but Republicans fault Bryson’s involvement in founding an environmental group.

He was a co-founder and attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a national and international environmental group.

“By selecting John Bryson to head the Department of Commerce, President Obama is clearly demonstrating that he has no intention of backing down from his job-killing agenda,” Inhofe said in a statement. “In fact, it is understandable that President Obama would select John Bryson as his nominee: he is a founder of a radical environmental organization and a member of a United Nations advisory group on climate change.”

Inhofe also noted that Bryson once called the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill “moderate.”