"I think it is a sad day ... when somebody is held up with such bipartisan support, with the type of experience that's necessary, in an environment where we have to improve our fiscal picture, that that person is held up for something that is completely unrelated to them," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Thursday during the daily media briefing.
"I think it is sad, and I think it's outrageous," Gibbs said.
Landrieu is blocking confirmation of Jacob Lew's nomination until the post-election, lame-duck session to pressure the Obama administration to lift or relax a deepwater drilling moratorium and to speed up shallow-water drilling permits not part of the ban, The Hill reported.
Asked about Gibbs's comments, a Landrieu spokesman told The Hill the senator "believes that the moratorium and nomination of a key economic adviser are related."
Landrieu, in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announcing the hold, said, "Although Mr. Lew clearly possesses the expertise necessary to serve as one of the president's most important economic advisers, I found that he lacked sufficient concern for the host of economic challenges confronting the Gulf Coast."
Landrieu said the drilling moratorium -- enacted following the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion and massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico -- is hurting the region's economy more than the spill itself.