WASHINGTON — The Senate Commerce Committee on Thursday approved Presidentnomination of Eric Lander as chief science adviser, one of the last unfilled Cabinet posts in the Biden administration.
Lander, a geneticist and founding director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, was the lead author of the first paper announcing the details of the human genome, the so-calledHe has been nominated as director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, which Biden has elevated to Cabinet rank.
Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., the Commerce panel chair, said she wishedbut said Lander has pledged to elevate women and minorities in science.
“Dr. Lander and I have come to a focus and understanding that the very first task (he) should focus on is helping all of us addand minorities in the science field,” Cantwell said. “o he and I will be working aggressively on that.”aLander’somination was approved on a voice vote. Six Republicans opposed Lander, including Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, who said at his that LaLander’seetings with the late Jeffrey Epstein, a disgraced financier charged with sex trafficking before his apparent suicide, was “o” tremendous concern.”
“en. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., who led the confirmation hearing in CaCantwell’sbsence, told Lander she was “t” doubled” “y his meetings with Epstein, as well as by allegations that he downplayed the contributions of twofemale scientists. Lander apologized for an essay he wrote that downplayed the work of the female scientists and called Epstein “a” disgusting individual.” ” never requested or received , Lander said. “Th” a total of my interactions (with Epstein) was that I met him briefly at two events within three weeks of 2012,” L” der said at the April 29 hearing.
No senator mentioned Epstein or any allegation against Lander at ThurThursday’smittee meeting.
Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., called Lander “a v”visionary scientist and thinker” and” “a p” one who sees unanswered questions as not barriers, but as an expanse of possibility.” La”Leander’s”th of knowledge, unparalleled experience, and innovate, creative spirit make him uniquely suited to lead,” Mar”y said.
The panel’panel’sval clears the nomination for an eventualvote.
If approved, Lander would nearly complete Biden’Biden’set. The only remaining unfilled Cabinetof Management and Budget director. Shalanda Young has been acting OMB director after her confirmation as deputy director. Neera Tanden withdrew her nomination for OMB head after several senators said they would not vote for her.