UPDATE: Sen. Shelby Places Hold on All Nominations; Releases Them on Monday

UPDATE: Sen. Shelby Places Hold on All Nominations; Releases Them on Monday

UPDATE: Congress Daily reported on Monday, February 8, that Senator Shelby has released his hold because he has gotten the attention he wanted on the two issues.

ORIGINAL STORY: Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) has placed a blanket hold on all Obama administration nominees waiting for Senate confirmation, according to Congress Daily (subscription required).

Senator Shelby, ranking member of the Senate appropriations subcommittee that funds NASA, is one of the strongest supporters of NASA’s Constellation Program, which would be terminated in the FY2011 NASA budget request. He issued a press release calling the FY2011 request a “death march for U.S. human space flight.” However, NASA is not cited by Congress Daily as one of reasons that he placed holds on all Obama nominations — meaning that they cannot proceed to the Senate floor for confirmation without 60 votes, which is more difficult for Democrats now that Massachusetts Republican Senator Scott Brown has been sworn into office. The reasons cited in the Congress Daily account concern debate over the Air Force’s competition for an aerial refueling contract, and frustration that the Obama Administration does not plan to fund an FBI center to analyze improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Alabama that was included as a congressionally-directed spending item (“earmark”) in the FY2008 omnibus appropriations bill.

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