Close encounters: Jim Bridenstine’s NASA nomination narrowly overcomes Senate hurdle
by Justin Wingerter, NewsOK

U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine, the Tulsa Republican whose nomination to lead NASA has hung in the balance for seven months, narrowly overcame a major procedural hurdle in the Senate on Wednesday, setting the stage for a final confirmation vote later this week.

The Senate voted 50-48 along party lines. A final vote is expected Thursday afternoon.

Wednesday’s vote carried some unexpected drama after Sen. Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican, initially voted against Bridenstine’s nomination, threatening to doom it. Senate leaders kept the vote open for an hour and Flake later changed his vote.

Bridenstine was first nominated for the position last September and nominated again in January, but Senate Republicans have struggled to find the votes needed to confirm him. He has faced unanimous opposition from Senate Democrats, as well as from Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, of Florida.

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