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 GrahamThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump tweets as tensions escalate across US This week: Senate reconvenes as protests roil nation amid pandemic Trump asserts his power over Republicans 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 HawleyExpanding tax credit for businesses retaining workers gains bipartisan support GOP deeply divided over Trump's social media crackdown Trump's social media executive order is a huge opportunity 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 SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SasseHillicon Valley: Lawmakers demand answers on Chinese COVID hacks | Biden re-ups criticism of Amazon | House Dem bill seeks to limit microtargeting Lawmakers ask for briefings on Chinese targeting of coronavirus research On The Money: GOP senators heed Fed chair's call for more relief | Rollout of new anti-redlining laws spark confusion in banking industry | Nearly half of American households have lost employment income during pandemic MORE (R-Neb.) and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump tweets as tensions escalate across US GOP deeply divided over Trump's social media crackdown House punts on FISA, votes to begin negotiations with Senate 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.