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White House withdraws ATF nominee after GOP pushback

White House withdraws ATF nominee after GOP pushback
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The White House on Tuesday formally withdrew Chuck Canterbury's nomination to lead the bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). 

The Trump administration sent notice to Congress that it is pulling the nomination, which has been stuck in limbo since September amid opposition from Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

Canterbury was nominated for the top ATF position in June and had a hearing before the Judiciary Committee in July, but senators appeared rankled over his answers when they tried to press him on his view on firearms. Canterbury was renominated for the post in mid-February but never received a committee vote. 

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Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamHouse conservatives take aim at Schumer-led bipartisan China bill There will be no new immigration law under Biden, unless he changes course McConnell safe in power, despite Trump's wrath MORE (R-S.C.), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, told The Hill last year that the nomination was "going to be very problematic."

Pressed at the time if the White House should withdraw the nomination, Graham deferred to the administration but reiterated that Canterbury's nomination was a "problem."

GOP Sens. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (La.) and Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyTrump plugs Hawley's new book over tech industry Cheney drama exposes GOP's Trump rifts Pollster Frank Luntz: 'I would bet on' Trump being 2024 GOP nominee MORE (Mo.) both told The Hill at the time that they would not support Canterbury if his nomination was brought up for a vote in the committee. 

Spokespeople for Sens. Ben SasseBen SasseOvernight Energy: 5 takeaways from the Colonial Pipeline attack | Colonial aims to 'substantially' restore pipeline operations by end of week | Three questions about Biden's conservation goals Hillicon Valley: Colonial Pipeline attack underscores US energy's vulnerabilities | Biden leading 'whole-of-government' response to hack | Attorneys general urge Facebook to scrap Instagram for kids Utah county GOP censures Romney over Trump impeachment vote MORE (R-Neb.) and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeGOP governor says Republican Party has to allow for differences Republicans urge probe into Amazon government cloud-computing bid: report Allowing a racist slur against Tim Scott to trend confirms social media's activist bias MORE (R-Utah) also said at the time that they both had "concerns" about Canterbury, pointing toward his views on the Second Amendment. 

Republicans hold a 12-10 majority on the Judiciary panel, meaning Canterbury could only lose one GOP vote before he would have needed support from Democrats to get his nomination sent to the Senate floor.