|Newly elected congressman Scott Murphy of New York is a venture capitalist.|
Harvard professor gets post at Pentagon
WASHINGTON - Harvard professor Ashton Carter has won confirmation as the Pentagon's top acquisitions official, after weeks of delay caused by two Alabama senators looking out for a home-state defense program.
Carter's nomination was approved on a voice vote by the Senate late Thursday, said a spokeswoman for the Senate Armed Services Committee, which held his confirmation hearing.
Republicans Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions, who used the Senate prerogative of putting a "hold" on the nomination, dropped their objection after seeking assurances that Carter will not change the specifications for the $35 billion refueling tanker contract being sought by
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, who handpicked Carter, met earlier Thursday with Shelby on the issue.
Carter comes to the job with no weapons-buying experience or ties to the arms industry. Rather, he is a longtime academic and leading authority on arms control.
He replaces John Young, who has served as undersecretary of defense for acquisitions since November 2007.
After the March 31 special election, the two were separated by only a handful of votes with thousands of absentee ballots to be counted.
Murphy, a venture capitalist multimillionaire from Missouri who has lived in New York for more than a decade, replaces Kirsten Gillibrand, who succeeded Hillary Rodham Clinton in the US Senate after Clinton was chosen to be Obama's secretary of state.
Mary Beth Maxwell spent the past five years as executive director of American Rights at Work, a nonprofit pushing for passage of a bill to make it easier to form unions. She will serve as a liaison to a White House task force trying to raise the living standards of middle-class families by improving labor standards, boosting workplace safety, and protecting retirement security.
Democratic leaders in Congress hope to bring a version of the Employee Free Choice Act to a vote this summer and to rally enough votes to overcome an expected GOP filibuster.
Business groups strongly oppose the bill, which would remove the right of employers to demand a secret ballot election before workers could form unions.