A Senate floor showdown on Bureau of Land Management nominee Tracy Stone-Manning could erupt as early as Thursday after her nomination was placed on the executive calendar, prompting heated objections from Republicans.
Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer filed cloture late Tuesday on the executive calendar for Ms. Stone-Manning, who has drawn fierce Republican opposition over her role in a 1989 tree-spiking case and allegations that she lied to the Senate committee about being under investigation.
Of course, the timing for the embattled nominee may never be better, what with media attention focused on House Democratic infighting over massive infrastructure spending bills as well as House hearings on the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.
Senate Democrats have the votes to approve the BLM nominee with Vice President Kamala D. Harris casting the tiebreaker, but Sen. John Barrasso, Energy and Natural Resources Committee ranking member, made it clear that Republicans have no intention of letting the nominee slide without a fight.
“With mounting Democrat-caused crises in our country, Senate Democrats’ top priority is to confirm an eco-terrorist collaborator who lied to the Senate,” Mr. Barrasso said in a Wednesday tweet. “Tracy Stone-Manning should never be the director of @BLMNational. Senate Republicans are united against this dangerous nominee.”
The committee advanced the nominee on a 10-10 party-line split in July, but her nomination has since remained in limbo amid Republican objections that show no sign of abating.
Rep. Yvette Herrell, New Mexico Republican, on Wednesday urged the Senate to reject the nomination, saying that “farmers, ranchers, loggers, hunters, and energy producers deserve a nominee who cares about them — not a wannabe eco-saboteur.”
Rep. Ken Buck, Colorado Republican, called her an “extreme nominee with ties to eco-terrorism who doesn’t support the active land management we need from @BLMNational in the West.”
Also raising red flags for Republicans is Ms. Stone-Manning’s $100,000 below-market loan in 2008 from a Montana developer and Democratic donor while she worked for Sen. Jon Tester, Montana Democrat.
In Tuesday letters, three House Republican ranking members asked the White House Presidential Personnel Office and Interior Department for more information on how Ms. Stone-Manning was vetted and when the office became aware of the loan, which was paid back last year.
“Ms. Stone-Manning’s nomination and subsequent questionable representations to the Senate raises concerns about the caliber of individuals PPO is recommending as Biden Administration nominees,” said the letter headed by Rep. Bruce Westerman, House Natural Resources Committee ranking member.
The other two signers were Rep. Jim Jordan, House Judiciary Committee ranking member, and Rep. James Comer, ranking member on the House Oversight and Reform Committee.
The White House has defended Ms. Stone-Manning, who previously served as Montana Gov. Steve Bullock’s chief of staff and head of the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, praising her in a July statement as “exceptionally qualified to be the next Director of the Bureau of Land Management.”
An unnamed White House official called her nomination in July a “massive vetting failure,” according to NBC News reporter Josh Lederman.
Ms. Stone-Manning typed, edited and mailed an anonymous letter warning of spiked trees in Idaho’s Clearwater National Forest in 1989. She was never charged, but she testified in 1993 against the suspects, who were convicted, as part of an immunity deal with federal prosecutors.
She told the Senate committee in her written responses that she had never been the target of a federal probe, although the lead investigator on the case said that she was part of the investigation and received a “target letter” from the grand jury before being granted immunity.