President Trump has renominated U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Oklahoma, to be chief administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Trump had nominated Bridenstine, who represents Tulsa and Oklahoma’s First District, in 2017. His nomination cleared the Senate Commerce Committee but never got to a floor vote during the calendar year so it had to be resubmitted.
Democrats in the Senate have stalled a host of Trump nominations in an effort to impede his administration. Democrats on the committee all voted against Bridenstine’s nomination.
Bridenstine’s confirmation in the Senate is not a sure thing because the GOP control was narrowed to 51 of 100 votes when Doug Jones, an Alabama Democrat, was elected in a special election in a seat previously held by Republican Sen. Luther Strange. Democrats control 49 votes (including two Independents).
And U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, has made public statements expressing doubts about Bridenstine’s nomination. Rubio has not said publicly that he would not vote to confirm. If the vote were 50 to 50, Vice President Mike Pence could vote and confirm Bridenstine.
Also, two senators, Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, and Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Mississippi, have been ill and could miss a confirmation vote.
Robert Lightfoot, NASA associate administrator, is the agency’s acting administrator. His temporary one-year tenure is unprecedented in NASA history.