- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 24, 2015

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa Senate committee has declined to endorse the governor’s pick to lead the state Department of Human Services.

The Human Resources Committee on Tuesday advanced the nomination of DHS Director Chuck Palmer without recommendation. Members expressed concerns about communication with lawmakers over plans like closing two mental health institutions. But many praised Palmer and noted he held a challenging position.

Palmer’s nomination now goes to the full Senate, where he needs approval from two-thirds of the members. Democratic Senate President Pam Jochum, from Dubuque, said she was not sure if there were enough votes for approval.

Palmer took over DHS in 2011 after Gov. Terry Branstad returned to office. He also ran the department years ago.

Branstad spokesman Jimmy Centers said the governor was optimistic Palmer would win confirmation.

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