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Nov 8, 10:32 AM EST

Senate panel narrowly backs Trump pick for NASA chief



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Senate panel narrowly backs Trump pick for NASA chief

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- A Senate panel has narrowly backed President Donald Trump's nominee to serve as the next NASA chief.

Republicans on the Commerce, Science and Transportation used their majority to overcome objections from Democrats to advance the selection of GOP Rep. Jim Bridenstine. The vote was 14-13.

Democrats criticized past comments Bridenstine had made dismissive of global warming as a man-made problem.

They also voiced concern about Bridenstine's harsh criticisms of Democratic lawmakers and fellow Republicans over the years, and questioned whether he would keep the space agency from being mired in political battles.

Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida, who voted against Bridenstine, said the job required scientific and technical expertise and "must not be political."

Bridenstine, 42, is serving his third term representing a conservative district in northeast Oklahoma.

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