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Senate approves Trump pick for DOE deputy secretary

The U.S. Senate voted in favor of confirming Dan Brouillette as deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, giving Energy Secretary Rick Perry his second in command.

The Senate voted 79-17 on Aug. 3 to confirm his nomination.

Brouillette most recently served as senior vice president and head of public policy for USAA Insurance Group and was a vice president at Ford Motor Co., where he managed the automaker's domestic policy teams. He also has experience within the federal government and Congress. Before working at Ford, Brouillette was chief of staff of the U.S. House of Representatives' Energy and Commerce Committee and was assistant secretary of energy for congressional and intergovernmental affairs under President George W. Bush.

In early June, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee cleared Brouillette's nomination by 17-6, a stronger margin than some of President Donald Trump's more controversial nominees. But Brouillette will arrive at DOE at a potentially transformative time. The Trump administration has proposed steep cuts to DOE's research budget, particularly for energy efficiency and renewable energy, and called for the elimination of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy. In addition, Perry ordered a review of electric grid reliability that critics say was geared toward giving large coal and nuclear units preferential treatment to renewable energy. The department had planned to release the report in early July but is yet to do so.