Senate Banking Panel Breaks Logjam in Vote on Treasury's Szubin

  • Obama pick to lead anti-terror efforts was nominated in April
  • Shelby committee held no votes on president's choices in 2015

The U.S. Senate committee responsible for financial-industry oversight has advanced President Barack Obama’s pick for a leading anti-terrorism role, signaling that the panel may be ready to act on other key nominees after more than a year of inaction.

Adam Szubin, who has been the Treasury Department’s acting undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence since January 2015, was approved by the Banking Committee in a 14-8 vote Thursday. Senator Richard Shelby, the Alabama Republican who leads the panel, was one of those in opposition.

Szubin, who was selected for the job last April, testified for the committee at a confirmation hearing in September. He was among the nominees stuck in limbo as Shelby declined to hold votes on any of Obama’s nominees in 2015.

“The Senate should have unanimously confirmed Mr. Szubin last spring instead of keeping him in limbo for almost an entire year," Senator Sherrod Brown, the committee’s top Democrat, said in a statement. “Mr. Szubin is well-qualified for this important position and the full Senate should confirm him without further delay."

All 10 Democrats and four Republicans voted in favor of approving Szubin for the job, where he would lead efforts to prevent terrorists from using global financial markets to fund their activities. Shelby said he voted against the nomination because of Szubin’s support of Obama’s Iran nuclear agreement.

“Mr. Szubin’s role at the Treasury Department has required him to both promote and defend the administration’s ill-conceived Iran nuclear agreement," the senator said in a statement. “I could not support his nomination today because of his participation in facilitating a deal that I believe is crippling to our national security."

The Banking Committee has other nominations pending, including a U.S. Export-Import Bank board member and two Federal Reserve nominees. The panel will hold a confirmation hearing next week for two Securities and Exchange Commission nominees. Democrat Lisa Fairfax, a George Washington University law professor, and Republican Hester Peirce, a senior research fellow at George Mason University, will testify on March 15 -- five months after Obama nominated them.

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