Republicans warn Cuccinelli won't get confirmed by GOP Senate

Senate Republicans are warning that Ken Cuccinelli, who was tapped Monday to serve as the acting head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), will not be confirmed by the GOP-controlled Senate. 
 
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Cuccinelli started his job atop the immigration agency Monday, a controversial move that came even after top Senate Republicans publicly warned that the former Senate Conservatives Fund leader would face a rocky reception on Capitol Hill. 
 
Trump hasn't said if he will try to get Cuccinelli confirmed to the spot on a permanent basis. But Republican senators sent a warning shot on Monday, predicting that he likely cannot be confirmed in the GOP-controlled Senate, where a nomination has to lose four Republican senators to fall short of the simple majority required for nominations. 
 
 
Asked about putting Cuccinelli in the spot in an "acting" capacity, Thune added that it's "probably the only way they could get him in there" and that it would be "hard" for the administration to get the former Virginia attorney general in the role permanently. 
 
 
“He’s made a career of attacking other Republicans and frankly attacking President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump retweets personal attacks on Clinton, Pelosi, Abrams Biden swipes at Trump: 'Presidency is about a lot more than tweeting from your golf cart' GOP sues California over Newsom's vote-by-mail order MORE, so I doubt he’ll have the support to get confirmed,” Cornyn said.
 
Republicans have a 53-47 majority in the Senate. Cuccinelli would have to lose four Republican senators and win no support from Democrats if he was sent before the Senate for confirmation. 
 
But the pushback from top Senate Republicans comes after McConnell publicly warned earlier this year that he did not want Cuccinelli as the next Department of Homeland Security secretary. Cuccinelli tried to unseat McConnell in 2014, including backing his primary opponent, Matt Bevin. 
 
"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.
 
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 MillerTrump camp outraged over Jezebel article calling for Stephen Miller to get coronavirus The Hill's 12:30 Report: White House scrambles after Pence aide tests positive for Covid The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The American Investment Council - Dems plot CARES 2 bill; infected Pence aide forces VP precautions MORE
 
 
Cuccinelli is also the latest in a growing number of administration positions Trump is filing in an "acting" capacity, letting him avoid having his nominations go through potentially bloody Senate confirmation battles.
 
Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOverwhelming majority of publicly traded firms have not returned small-business loans: review GOP faces internal conflicts on fifth coronavirus bill COVID-19 makes Trump's work with black Americans that much harder MORE (R-Fla.) said on Monday that he didn't think appointing Cuccinelli in an acting capacity was a "wise move" because the tensions could spill over into other nominations. 
 
"Just knowing people the way I do, it's going to make some people angry," Rubio said. 
 
Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyTrump, GOP go all-in on anti-China strategy Senate panel approves Trump nominee under investigation Pelosi, Democrats press case for mail-in voting amid Trump attacks MORE (R-Utah) said he would give Cuccinelli a "careful review" but indicated he would rather Trump name someone on a permanent basis. 
 
"I prefer votes in the Senate for positions of that nature," he said.