Sen. John CornynJohn CornynDemocrats up ante in risky debt ceiling fight Senate parliamentarian nixes Democrats' immigration plan Democrats make case to Senate parliamentarian for 8 million green cards MORE (R-Texas) said on Monday that he doesn’t support Ken Cuccinelli’s appointment as acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and that Cuccinelli likely wouldn’t be able to win confirmation for the role on a permanent basis.
“He’s made a career of attacking other Republicans and frankly attacking President TrumpDonald TrumpUkraine's president compares UN to 'a retired superhero' Collins to endorse LePage in Maine governor comeback bid Heller won't say if Biden won election MORE, so I doubt he’ll have the support to get confirmed,” Cornyn said.
Asked if he supported Cuccinelli atop the immigration agency, Cornyn said no.
Cuccinelli began his new job as acting director of USCIS on Monday, a controversial move that came despite opposition among Senate Republicans to giving the former Senate Conservatives Fund leader a Senate-confirmed position.
The White House has not formally nominated him as director. He can remain in the acting position for 210 days.
Cuccinelli, however, could face a rocky road to confirmation should Trump nominate him to lead USCIS on a permanent basis.
Cuccinelli is replacing Lee Francis Cissna, who was forced out as USCIS chief late last month amid a shake-up at the department that was engineered by top White House policy adviser Stephen MillerStephen MillerWhy is the Biden administration turning its back on asylum seekers? Defense & National Security: The post-airlift evacuation struggle How Trump broke the system that offers protection to Afghan allies MORE.
But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOn The Money — Democrats rush to finish off infrastructure Biden employs flurry of meetings to unite warring factions GOP senators say Biden COVID-19 strategy has 'exacerbated vaccine hesitancy' MORE (R-Ky.) has long opposed the former Virginia attorney general, who worked in 2014 to oust McConnell.
"I've not spoken to him about any of them. I have expressed my, shall I say, lack of enthusiasm for one of them … Ken Cuccinelli," McConnell told reporters in April.
Republicans hold a 53-47 majority, meaning Cuccinelli would have to lose four GOP senators and win over no Democrats to not be confirmed.