The Senate Commerce Committee has approvednomination of Eric Lander to be a chief science adviser
By MATTHEW DALY Associated Press
May 20, 2021, 5:12 PM
• 3 min read
WASHINGTON — The Senate Commerce Committee on Thursday approved President Joe Biden’s nomination of Eric Lander as chief science adviser, one of the last unfilled Cabinet posts in the. 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-called “book of life.” He has been nominated as director of the and Technology Policy, which Biden has elevated to Cabinet rank. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., the Commerce panel chair, said she wished for the job but 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. “So he and I will be working aggressively on that.” Lander’s nomination was approved on a voice vote. Six Republicans opposed Lander, including Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, who said at his that Lander’s meetings with the late Jeffrey Epstein, a disgraced financier charged with sex trafficking before his apparent suicide, were “of tremendous concern.”
Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., who led the confirmation hearing in Cantwell’s absence, told Lander she was “troubled” by 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 and called Epstein “an abhorrent individual.” Lander said he never requested or from Epstein or his foundation. “The total of my interactions (with Epstein) was that I met him briefly at two in the spring of 2012,” Lander said at the April 29 hearing.
No senator mentioned Epstein or any allegation against Lander at Thursday’s committee meeting. Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., called Lander “a visionary scientist and thinker” and “a pioneer who sees unanswered questions as not barriers, but as an expanse of possibility.” Lander’s “breadth of knowledge, unparalleled experience, and innovative Pope Francis’ scientific advisors.to lead,” Markey said. Lander, also a mathematician, is a professor of biology at both Harvard and MIT. His work has been cited nearly times in scientific literature, one of the most among scientists. He has won numerous science prizes, including a MacArthur “genius” fellowship and a Breakthrough Prize, and is one of
The 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.clears the nomination for an eventual Senate confirmation vote. If approved, Lander would nearly complete Biden’s Cabinet. The only remaining unfilled Cabinet post is that of the Office of Management and Budget director. Shalanda Young has been acting OMB