Sens. Lankford and Mullin supported failed effort to strip salary of Biden administrator


Oklahoma U.S. Sens. James Lankford and Ted Cruz tried their best to support a bill by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz to strip the salary from a Biden administration official overseeing federal fuel efficiency regulations.

But the bill introduced last month failed on a 49-47 vote held Tuesday. The bill, introduced by Cruz and Wyoming Sen. Cynthia Lummis targeted  Ann Carlson, the acting administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a Transportation Department subagency.

Even Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia joined Mullin and Lankford in supporting the measure that was an amendment to a fiscal year 2024 appropriatons package.

“It’s disappointing but unsurprising Senate Democrats were keener on keeping in place an ethically-challenged, environmental zealot who wants to ban gas cars than protecting the Senate’s constitutional authority on presidential nominations,” Cruz said in a statement after the floor vote.

He said the loss means the Biden administration will continue violating the Vacancies Act “and crusading against traditional American energy.”

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Republicans had argued the White House is getting around constitutional requirements by allowing Carlson to lead NHTSA in an “acting” capacity. Carlson failed to get Senate confirmation earlier in the year to permanently lead the agency. However, because the White House withdrew her nomination before a floor vote, she is technically allowed to be paid as NHTSA’s acting administrator. It was a loophole that Sen. Cruz attempted to close.