Less than 24 hours after Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), a Boeing supporter on the tanker issue, lifted her hold on the nomination of Michael Donley to be Secretary of the Air Force, the Senate Armed Services Committee approved Donley's nomination.
The committee met briefly and cast a voice vote (so there's no recorded vote of ayes and nays). You'll remember that Cantwell's spokeswoman, Ciaran Clayton, called me to say that Cantwell had received classified information about the tanker that she had requested from the Pentagon. So, Clayton said, the senator was wiling to drop the hold. I understand that there is a decent chance the full Senate may vote on the nomination before leaving for recess.
This may well help Defense Secretary Robert Gates reshape the Air Force in the waning days of the Bush administration since a confirmed official carries more weight in his dealings because everyone knows the Senate has given its approval.