Oklahoma Senator Blocks Jarvis Confirmation
Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., is blocking the confirmation of President Obama's pick for National Park Service director in retaliation for the Interior Department holding up a request for a slew of documents by Coburn and Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.
Coburn has put a "hold" on John Jarvis to head the park service because the senator says the Interior Department isn't being forthcoming. The move prevents the Senate from approving Jarvis and leaves the federal parks with an acting director.
"We will not release Jarvis until we get legitimate answers to the questions," Coburn told Politico. "One way or another, we are going to get the answers."
The publication said Coburn acknowledged getting some information from Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.
Bishop's spokeswoman Melissa Subbotin said the congressman plans to grill Salazar during a congressional hearing today (Sept. 16) about the documents, which relate to a wide variety of subjects, from criminal activity on public lands to agreements between the department and Homeland Security.
"Rob has requested these documents on numerous occasions, both in writing and at public hearings," Subbotin said. "It's been seven months since the first request. It's been complete radio silence from the Department of Interior."
Interior spokeswoman Kendra Barkoff said the department is "working diligently to address Sen. Coburn's questions and concerns," but declined further comment.
Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, held up the department's No. 2 administrator, David Hayes, over concerns about how the administration canceled 77 oil and gas leases in Utah earlier this year. Bennett eventually released his hold when Salazar promised a thorough report on how the lease cancellation occurred.