There was a Republican majority of the Senate, and it tempered the nature of the nominations being made.
Other quotes by Spencer Abraham
Well, the responsibility for maintaining a reliable transmission grid is one that's shared by an awful lot of players who have a role in the grid: Companies that either generate and transmit energy or just play the role of being the transmission systems or monitoring them.
The federal government neither has the power to site transmission lines, nor do we build them. That's done, as people know, in their own communities. The siting decisions and the permitting is done at the local level, or by state governments if it's interstate in nature. And federal government - this is one area we have no authority.