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

Sen. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeySasse rebuked by Nebraska Republican Party over impeachment vote Philly GOP commissioner on censures: 'I would suggest they censure Republican elected officials who are lying' Toomey censured by several Pennsylvania county GOP committees over impeachment vote MORE (R-Pa.) said on Wednesday that he expected the nomination process for President-elect Joe BidenJoe Biden28 Senate Democrats sign statement urging Israel-Hamas ceasefire Franklin Graham says Trump comeback would 'be a very tough thing to do' Schools face new pressures to reopen for in-person learning 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 HarrisHere's why Joe Biden polls well, but Kamala Harris does not Immigration experts say GOP senators questioned DHS secretary with misleading chart Carper urges Biden to nominate ambassadors amid influx at border 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 WarrenLawmakers bicker over how to go after tax cheats Warren calls for US to support ceasefire between Israel and Hamas Sanders: Netanyahu has cultivated 'racist nationalism' 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 SchumerBiden 'encouraged' by meeting with congressional leaders on infrastructure Republicans welcome the chance to work with Democrats on a bipartisan infrastructure bill Cheney sideshow distracts from important battle over Democrats' partisan voting bill MORE (N.Y.).