Tags: judd | gregg | obama

GOP's Gregg Candidate for Commerce Secretary

Thursday, 29 Jan 2009 08:52 PM

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Republican Sen. Judd Gregg is one a short list of candidates for Commerce Secretary in the Obama administration – a move that potentially could give Democrats a 60-seat supermajority in the Senate.

Gregg is from New Hampshire and that state's current governor is a Democrat who would name Gregg's replacement. That pick could give the party a filibuster-proof 60-vote majority in the chamber if Democrat Al Franken is also ultimately named the winner in the contested Minnesota Senate race.

Roll Call quoted several unnamed Senate sources as confirming that Gregg’s nomination was far from a done deal, but remains a serious possibility. Reached by phone, Gregg, the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, told Roll Call he had no comment on whether he has been in talks with the White House about the post.

If tapped, Gregg would be the second GOP lawmaker to head to Obama’s Cabinet. The president selected then-Rep. Ray LaHood (R-Ill.) as his Transportation Secretary.

Despite his conservative credentials, Gregg — a close ally of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) — has been a leading Republican voice in favor of government intervention in the financial markets. He was McConnell’s lead negotiator on the $700 billion Wall Street bailout bill in the fall, and he was one of only six Republicans to vote to release the second installment of $350 billion of those funds.

New Hampshire's governor is a Democrat, who would be able to name Gregg's replacement. That pick could give the party a filibuster-proof 60-vote majority in the chamber if Democrat Al Franken is also ultimately named the winner in the contested Minnesota Senate race.

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