Senate Confirms Obama's Pick for Regulatory 'Czar'

The Senate on Wednesday voted to confirm President Obama's nominee for "regulatory czar," overcoming months of delay due to Republican concerns that he would push a radical animal rights agenda.

Senators voted 57-40 to approve Harvard professor Cass Sunstein as the administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the Office of Budget and Management.

As regulatory czar, Sunstein will review and provide guidance for draft federal regulations at different federal agencies. It is a wide-ranging and largely unrestrained position in the executive branch.

That's a large part of the reason Sunstein's positions on animal rights have become worrisome to his critics. Despite his assurances to the contrary, Sunstein has spoken stridently in favor of allowing people the right to bring suit on behalf of animals in animal cruelty cases and to restrict what he calls the more horrific practices associated with industrial breeding and processing of animals for food. 

Republican Sens. John Cornyn of Texas and Saxby Chambliss of Georgia had placed a "hold" on his nomination to prevent a vote from coming to the floor. Chambliss lifted his hold in July because he said Sunstein had convinced him that he wouldn't impose new restrictions on agriculture or hunting.