It wasn’t a new attorney general or defense secretary, but the Senate still hit a milestone on Monday by confirming President Barack Obama’s first nominee following a Republican takeover of that chamber.
The Senate voted 92 to 0 to approve Michael Botticelli as director of National Drug Control Policy, a nomination that didn’t even draw procedural opposition in the hyper-partisan Senate.
Botticelli was so noncontroversial that he was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee just last week and was whisked onto the Senate floor for a Monday vote, a brief turn to executive nominations while Republicans struggle legislatively to fund the Department of Homeland Security past Feb. 27. Defense Secretary nominee Ash Carter could also be confirmed later this week before Congress goes on a week-long recess, aides said.
In announcing his support for Botticelli, Senate Majority Leader Mich McConnell said that Botticelli has promised a spring visit to the GOP leader’s home state of Kentucky, which is dealing with worsening opioid addiction problems.
“Drug abuse is a serious problem in my home state,” McConnell said. “Visits like these help ensure continued federal efforts on Kentucky’s drug problem. And I look forward to working with the next drug czar to move closer to the day when drug abuse is no longer ravaging our families and our communities.”
Botticelli is a recovering alcoholic who has served as the acting director of National Drug Control Policy for nearly a year and will have to guide the Obama administration through an unprecedented period of uncertainty for the nation’s drug laws as four states and the District of Columbia recently voted to legalize marijuana. Votes on whether to legalize pot in more states are planned for 2016.
A D.C. resident, Botticelli made waves on Friday when he backed D.C.’s ability to spend its own money on legalization after congressional Republicans blocked federal spending on the new law in a December bill. Botticelli said he is against legalization but pro-budget autonomy for the District.
“I might not agree about legalization, but I do agree with our own ability to spend the money that we want.],” Botticelli said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/02/drug-czar-confirmation-michael-botticelli-115043.html#ixzz3RJwDxpA1