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CBC to Biden: FERC chair shouldn't be "acting"

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Jul 11, 2023
FERC Commissioner Willie Phillips

Phillips in March. Photo: F. Carter Smith/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Congressional Black Caucus wants President Biden to stop saying Federal Energy Regulatory Commission head Willie Phillips is the commission's "acting" chair.

Why it matters: The administration is using a temporary title for Phillips, the first Black FERC leader.

Driving the news: The CBC sent a letter to the president June 20 stating "it is past time" to give Phillips "a permanent designation" as FERC chair, according to a copy of the letter reviewed by Axios.

Flashback: Biden designated Phillips to lead FERC when Richard Glick's term on the commission expired at the beginning of the year. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chair Joe Manchin had torpedoed Glick's renomination.

  • The White House told media outlets that Phillips would be leading the agency only until it could "nominate and confirm a permanent chair."

Between the lines: The caucus believes that the president has unilateral authority to make Phillips the formal chair. It hasn't gotten a full response from the White House, per a senior congressional aide familiar with the request.

  • The White House acknowledged receiving a request for comment about the letter but didn't immediately respond.

Zoom in: Phillips, previously head of D.C.'s public service commission, is a rare Biden official who enjoys support from renewable advocates and Manchin. He joined FERC in December 2021.

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