GOP senator: Biden Cabinet picks will be a 'discussion' with Republican Senate

Sen. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyGovernment used Patriot Act to gather website visitor logs in 2019 Appeals court rules NSA's bulk phone data collection illegal Dunford withdraws from consideration to chair coronavirus oversight panel MORE (R-Pa.) said on Wednesday that he expected the nomination process for President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump grants clemency to more than 100 people, including Bannon Scalise bringing Donna Brazile as guest to Biden inauguration Sidney Powell withdraws 'kraken' lawsuit in Georgia MORE's Cabinet to be an "ongoing discussion" with Senate Republicans, if they hold on to the majority. 

Toomey's comments come as Democrats worry that a Republican Senate majority could force Biden to negotiate over his picks for top administration positions and block nominees they view as too progressive. 

Toomey said during a Washington Post Live interview that Cabinet picks were a "shared responsibility" between the president and the Senate majority.  


"The president should get significant deference ... and I think that is, that is important. Having said that, especially when you have divided government ... we've got to recognize we've got a responsibility: advice and consent," Toomey said.  

"So I think people who are well outside of the political mainstream don't belong in really important, senior-level, Cabinet-type posts. And that's why that will be an ongoing discussion, I think, between a Republican Senate and Joe Biden," Toomey added. 

Which party will control the Senate under a Biden administration remains unclear. Democrats are currently poised to hold 48 seats to Republicans' 50. To clinch a majority, Democrats need to win the two runoff elections in Georgia on Jan. 5. That would give Democrats control of the chamber because Vice President-elect Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisScalise bringing Donna Brazile as guest to Biden inauguration McConnell, Schumer fail to cut power-sharing deal amid filibuster snag Howard University's marching band to escort Harris at inauguration MORE would have the ability to break a tie. 

Toomey estimated that he probably supported more than 70 percent of then-President Obama's overall Senate-confirmed appointments. 

But he added on Wednesday that the Cabinet was a "shared responsibility." 


"We should provide and consent, but consent is not a meaningful concept unless it can be withheld if the circumstances require it," Toomey said. 

Biden is expected to quickly start naming some Cabinet picks as he begins to lay the groundwork for taking over the executive branch in late January. 

Speculation about who he will pick has kicked into high gear.

Progressives are publicly pushing for Biden to be bold with his choices, while lawmakers and strategists say they wouldn't be surprised if Biden picked a Republican for one of the positions. 

Toomey was asked about the possibility that Biden picks Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenBiden pick for Pentagon cruises through confirmation hearing Senate Democrats call on Biden to immediately invoke Defense Production Act Biden consumer bureau pick could take over agency on Inauguration Day MORE (D-Mass.) for Treasury secretary. He didn't say if he would support or oppose Warren but appeared skeptical that she would be picked. 

"I doubt very much that Secretary Warren would be on the nominating table because the governor of Massachusetts is a Republican and replacing her with a Republican senator probably wouldn't go really well with Sen. Schumer," Toomey said, referring to Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerNew York court worker arrested, accused of threats related to inauguration Schumer: Trump should not be eligible to run for office again McConnnell, McCarthy accept Biden invitation to pre-inauguration church service MORE (N.Y.).