Committee Democrats join in pressing Trump to restore quorum at FERC

By US Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources.

Pairing Republican and Democratic Nominees Consistent with Commission’s Long-Standing Tradition of Bipartisanship

Washington, D.C. – Today (March 8), Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and 15 other Democrats wrote President Trump regarding several openings on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that are preventing the commission from fully functioning. 

FERC has a long tradition of bipartisanship; most votes within the commission are unanimous. In 2016, less than two percent of the orders issued included a dissenting opinion. The senators said: “We hope that your nominees will be prepared to continue this tradition, and we intend to review them through that lens during the confirmation process.”

In addition to the three vacant commission seats, a fourth seat currently held by Commissioner Colette Honorable is scheduled to expire on June 30. By law, not more than three members of FERC may be members of the same political party. Historically, both Republican and Democratic presidents have nominated people recommended by the Senate leader of the party that does not hold the presidency. “We expect you will honor this long-standing practice in nominating individuals to serve on the commission,” the senators write. 

FERC lost its quorum on February 3 when Commissioner Norman Bay resigned after President Trump replaced him as chair. Bay had told the president’s transition team that he would resign when the president named a new chair of the commission. A quorum of at least three commissioners is required before decisions that require a vote of the commissioners can be issued.