Senate to vote on Trump's pick for Air Force secretary

Former US House Representative for New Mexico Heather Wilson

Former US House Representative for New Mexico Heather Wilson

The U.S. Senate voted Monday to confirm Heather Wilson, a former congresswoman and Air Force Academy graduate, to be the next Air Force secretary and first service secretary to serve in the Trump administration. Jack Reed of Rhode Island and Richard Blumenthal of CT made a point to register disapproval of Wilson's work for Sandia Corp., a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corp. that runs Sandia National Laboratories, after she served in Congress.

However, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) wrote in a release Monday evening that "Wilson's history of violating government contracting rules and intolerance of LGBT Americans in uniform disqualify her from serving as secretary of the Air Force". John McCain, the Republican chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Wilson "has proven herself as a leader". "We don't have enough space for research, and we've got a number of buildings that are in real need of refurbishment", Wilson said.

Trump's choices for secretaries of the Army and Navy have been forced to withdraw from consideration. The original nominees for Secretary of the Army and Secretary of the Navy withdrew because of financial entanglements.

25 2017 shows a US F-35A Lightning II aircraft at Amari Air Base Estonia
25 2017 shows a US F-35A Lightning II aircraft at Amari Air Base Estonia

As pressure builds on President Donald Trump to fill Pentagon jobs, Wilson's confirmation is a signal that Democrats may go easier on his national security picks than his other nominees, at least after their names officially reach the Senate. During her Senate confirmation hearing in March, some Democratic senators - including Armed Services Committee member Jack Reed of Rhode Island - questioned her vigorously about contracting work she did for Sandia National Laboratories after leaving Congress in 2009.

Heinrich, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Wilson's tenure as a representative from New Mexico gives her unique insight into the role and needs of the state's three Air Force bases. She has been President of the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology in Rapid City, SD since 2013, the first female President of the University.

Under federal acquisition regulation laws, Wilson should have kept documentation of her consulting work. Wilson denied any impropriety. She'd also assured the Defense Department's general counsel that she would divest of stocks she holds in companies that do work for the US military, including Intel, IBM, Honeywell and Raytheon.

Puerto Rico turns to courts for debt protection
As of September 30, Puerto Rico and its various bond issuing authorities had missed almost $1.5 billion in debt service payments. Rossello said one of the lawsuits sought to claim all revenues generated by the island's Treasury Department for bondholders.

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