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Senate Committee Indefinitely Delays Votes on Rick Perry, Ryan Zinke

A Senate committee on Monday night abruptly postponed its scheduled votes Tuesday on President Donald Trump's nominations of Rick Perry and Ryan Zinke to lead the Energy and Interior departments.

Image: (Left) Ryan Zinke, (Right) Rick Perry.
(Left) Ryan Zinke President Trump's nominee to be Secretary of the Interior, testifies before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee confirmation hearing on his nomination, on Capitol Hill in Washington on Jan. 17. (Right) Former Texas Governor Rick Perry, President Trump's choice as Secretary of Energy, testifies during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on Capitol Hill on Jan. 19. Michael Reynolds/EPA and / Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee gave no explanation for the postponement, which it said was in effect "until further notice."

During his hearing before the committee last week, Perry — the former governor of Texas who unsuccessfully challenged Trump during the Republican presidential primaries — walked back controversial statements from his past campaigns promising to abolish the Energy Department.

"I regret recommending its elimination," he said in his opening statement.

Perry Jokes Trump May 'Forget' Plans to Eliminate Energy Offices 0:49

Meanwhile, Zinke, a Republican U.S. representative from Montana, contradicted his would-be new boss during his confirmation hearing, testifying that he accepts the scientific conclusion that climate change is real.

"I do not believe it's a hoax," Zinke said — even though Trump himself has claimed that climate change is a "hoax" created by China.