SPONSORED:

McConnell vows to hold votes on Biden's Cabinet picks

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellRevs. Jesse Jackson, William Barber arrested in protest urging Manchin to nix filibuster On The Money: Biden announces bipartisan deal on infrastructure, but Democratic leaders hold out for more McConnell slams Biden for already 'caving' to left on infrastructure deal MORE (R-Ky.) is pledging to hold votes on President-elect Joe BidenJoe Biden Pence said he's 'proud' Congress certified Biden's win on Jan. 6 Americans put the most trust in their doctor for COVID-19 information: poll US to give Afghanistan 3M doses of J&J vaccine MORE's Cabinet picks if Republicans retain control of the chamber's majority next year. 

McConnell, in an interview with former adviser Scott Jennings that was published Monday, predicted that Republicans would be more receptive to Biden's nominees than Democrats were to President TrumpDonald Trump Pence said he's 'proud' Congress certified Biden's win on Jan. 6 Americans put the most trust in their doctor for COVID-19 information: poll OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Biden administration to evacuate Afghans who helped US l Serious differences remain between US and Iran on nuclear talks l US, Turkish officials meet to discuss security plans for Afghan airport MORE's in 2017. 

They "aren’t all going to pass on a voice vote, and they aren’t all going to make it, but I will put them on the floor," McConnell said. 

ADVERTISEMENT

He added that he would treat Biden "a hell of a lot better than [Senate Minority Leader] Chuck SchumerChuck SchumerDemocrats seek to calm nervous left Biden says he won't sign bipartisan bill without reconciliation bill The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senators, White House to meet on potential infrastructure deal MORE [D-N.Y.] ever treated Donald Trump.”

Which party will control the Senate next year will be decided by two runoff elections in Georgia scheduled for Jan. 5. 

The GOP leader hasn't said how many of Biden's Cabinet picks he would let get through on the first day of the new administration. 

Asked last week about Biden's Cabinet hours after he publicly congratulated the former vice president for winning the White House, McConnell demurred. 

"Well, look, our first job here is to try to finish up this session with this administration, and we'll have plenty of time to talk about the way forward," McConnell told reporters.

ADVERTISEMENT

McConnell and Biden have a decades-long relationship that includes cutting deals during the Obama administration.

McConnell offered praise for Biden when he acknowledged his victory on the floor — weeks after the presidential race was called — noting that he was "no stranger to the Senate. He's devoted himself to public service for many years." 

Republicans were frustrated in 2017 when Democrats agreed to let only two of Trump’s Cabinet picks be confirmed on day one of his administration, compared with six for then-President Obama and seven for then-President George W. Bush. By Feb. 10, he had seven confirmed, compared with Obama’s 12 and Bush’s 14, which was his entire Cabinet.

Democrats are calling on Republicans to start holding confirmation hearings for Biden's picks early next year before the inauguration so that the Senate could be ready to confirm some of the picks on Biden's first day. 

Two picks in particular have drawn GOP backlash so far: Neera TandenNeera TandenBiden's no-drama White House chief Manchin isn't ready to support Democrats passing infrastructure on their own Republicans target Trump critic's role at DOJ MORE to be White House Office of Management and Budget director and California Attorney General Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraCDC can't regulate cruises: judge Sanders 'delighted' DeSantis asked White House to import Canadian prescription drugs Feehery: It's for the children MORE, who was nominated for secretary of Health and Human Services. Others such as Lloyd AustinLloyd AustinBiden administration to evacuate Afghans who helped US Overnight Defense: Joint Chiefs chairman clashes with GOP on critical race theory | House bill introduced to overhaul military justice system as sexual assault reform builds momentum Joint Chiefs chairman clashes with GOP on race theory, 'white rage' MORE for the Pentagon, Tony Blinken for secretary of State and Janet YellenJanet Louise YellenOn The Money: Biden announces bipartisan deal on infrastructure, but Democratic leaders hold out for more Yellen to travel to Italy next month to further efforts on global minimum tax The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senators, White House to meet on potential infrastructure deal MORE for Treasury secretary have gotten early signs of GOP support. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - GOP torpedoes election bill; infrastructure talks hit snag White House digs in as infrastructure talks stall On The Money: Democrats make full-court press on expanded child tax credit | White House confident Congress will raise debt ceiling MORE (R-S.D.), McConnell's No. 2, stopped short of vowing that every nominee would get a vote on the Senate floor but predicted Republicans would be open to nominees within the "mainstream." 

"If they said nominees that are in the mainstream, you know, every president deserves to populate this administration with people he’d like to have there. And unless they're unqualified or have some ethical issue or something like that, my assumption is that they'll get a fair hearing here and presumably a vote," he told reporters on Monday. 

He added that Republicans, if they control the Senate, would likely focus on confirming national security-related positions first.

"My guess is that there would be an attempt, particularly for national security appointments, to move those quickly to make sure there's no lapse there. And so when we come back in and our members are sworn in early January before the presidential inaugural, we'll have time for committees to do their work and for the process to get underway," he said.