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An Alabama Hold on Carter: The two Senators from Alabama reportedly have locked up the confirmation of Ashton Carter, President Obama's pick to lead Pentagon acquisition, amid new concerns over the KC-X tanker replacement program. During his March 26 confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Carter responded to repeated questions from Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) that he would apply "best value" in the competition, saying he would consider price, quality, and capabilities in calling it "like I see it." According to various news reports, both Sessions and fellow Alabama Republican Sen. Richard Shelby have fresh concerns. Shelby said in an April 3 statement, "It is of the utmost importance that the new tanker competition be conducted in an open and transparent manner based on a best value process." In a separate statement, Sessions said he has "unanswered questions." According to a report by National Journal's Congress Daily, Shelby asked Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the armed service committee, to delay a full Senate vote on Carter until he can respond to additional questions. That won't happen until after Congress returns from recess on April 20. (More in Mobile Press-Register report)