Senate Agriculture ranking member Saxby Chambliss announced Wednesday that he is lifting a hold he placed on the nomination of Harvard Law School professor Cass Sunstein, President Obama's pick to head OMB's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.
"I am not gonna keep him from confirmation and I intend to lift my hold," Chambliss said on the Senate floor. The step may clear Sunstein for quick confirmation, though Senate aides have warned other holds are possible.
Chambliss placed the hold due to a 2002 article in which Sunstein urged "extensive regulation of the use of animals in entertainment, scientific experiments, and agriculture," adding that "animals should be permitted to bring suit, with human beings as their representatives."
Those views alarmed agriculture groups, which expressed concerns to farm state senators. Sunstein also drew some opposition as a result of lectures in which he suggested banning hunting.
The OIRA job is closely watched because the office reviews and alters regulations created by federal agencies. Chambliss lifted the hold after meeting with Sunstein Tuesday and after Sunstein met with most of the farm groups that expressed concerns.
The Georgia Republican cited a letter from Sunstein pledging not to "take any steps to promote litigation on behalf of animals" and agreeing the law does not give animals such rights. Sunstein in the letter also says he believes the Second Amendment protects the right of individuals to bear arms.