The return of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to Lower Manhattan now appears more likely. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton allowed the confirmation of Ralph Basham as agency commissioner to pass by unanimous consent last week after Basham promised in a letter to try and bring 200 Customs jobs back Downtown.
The agency used to be in 6 W.T.C. and a return to the site is not far-fetched since Gov. George Pataki recently promised developer Larry Silverstein and the Port Authority that the state will find one million square feet worth of federal and state tenants to move into the Freedom Tower when it opens in six years.
It is not the first time Clinton has held up a Bush appointment on a Downtown issue. Three years ago, she blocked Michael Leavitts appointment to lead the Environmental Protection Agency until he agreed to set up a panel to review the agencys post-9/11 cleanup program.