The Senate on March 12 confirmed James Danly's nomination to FERC.
Senators broke mostly along party lines in the 52-40 vote, with three Democrats—Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.)—joining 49 Republicans to confirm Danly.
Manchin, ranking Democrat on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said he won't support another Republican nominee, "no matter how well qualified," to fill the seat that will open when Commissioner Bernard McNamee leaves unless President Donald Trump "sends us a nomination for the vacant Democratic seat as well."
McNamee announced Jan. 23 he would not seek reappointment to FERC. His term expires June 30.
Under federal law, FERC can have no more than three members from the same political party. Danly's confirmation will bring the commission's current roster to three Republicans. The other Republicans are McNamee and Chairman Neil Chatterjee, and Richard Glick is the lone Democrat.
Manchin has pressed the White House to nominate Allison Clements to fill the seat vacated by Cheryl LaFleur's departure in August. Clements is director of the Energy Foundation's clean-energy markets program.
"I think they're scared, and I hear this because she's a very, very bright, very smart, very articulate, very intelligent person," Manchin said in Senate floor remarks.
Danly, FERC's general counsel since 2017, will fill the seat vacated Jan. 2, 2019, by the death of Kevin McIntyre. Danly will serve for the remainder of the term that expires June 30, 2023.
Chatterjee said Danly "has an exceptional ability to carefully and thoughtfully consider the legal and regulatory questions raised by matters before us."