Senate GOP slow walking Biden's pick to lead DHS

Senate GOP slow walking Biden's pick to lead DHS
© Reuters/Pool

Senate Republicans are dragging out the Senate's consideration of President Biden's pick to lead the Department of Homeland Security.

Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBuild Back Better Is bad for the states  Dole to lie in state in Capitol Rotunda Biden points to drug prices in call for Senate social spending vote MORE (D-N.Y.) filed cloture on Alejandro MayorkasAlejandro MayorkasHillicon Valley —TSA to strengthen rail sector cybersecurity TSA issues directives to rail sector to strengthen cybersecurity US to restart 'Remain in Mexico' program following court order MORE's nomination on Wednesday due to GOP opposition, a procedural step that will eat up days of time. 

It is the first time Republicans have made Democrats go through the extra hurdles to confirm a nominee since they took over the chamber's majority last week. 

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“There’s a number of problems with that nomination that we need to talk about," said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), an adviser to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

Without a deal to speed things up, the earliest that the Senate could take an initial vote on Mayorkas is Friday, where he'll need a simple majority to advance. Even after that, his nomination could face up to 30 hours of additional debate.  

Biden has gotten four Cabinet picks confirmed by the Senate so far: Director of National Intelligence Avril HainesAvril HainesOvernight Defense & National Security — Russian military moves cause for concern New Pentagon group to investigate unidentified aerial phenomena This Thanksgiving, skip the political food fights and talk UFOs instead MORE, Defense Secretary Lloyd AustinLloyd AustinOvernight Defense & National Security — Preparing for the Biden-Putin call Five things to know about Russia's troop buildup near Ukraine  Austin warns Congress of 'enormous' negative effects of yearlong stopgap bill MORE, Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenBiden holds call with European leaders to talk Russia Five things to know about Russia's troop buildup near Ukraine  Malala Yousafzai urges US to take action for Afghan women and girls MORE and Treasury Secretary Janet YellenJanet Louise YellenOn The Money — Build Back Better takes a 'Byrd Bath' Schumer steps on the gas to move Biden agenda Hoyer says Dec. 15 is drop-dead deadline to hike debt ceiling MORE

Each of the four were able to skip over procedural hurdles and proceed directly to a straight up or down vote and were confirmed with broad bipartisan support. 

But Mayorkas has received pushback from several GOP senators. 

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee voted this week to advance Biden’s pick to lead the Department of Homeland Security. 

GOP Sens. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonFauci calls Ron Johnson's AIDS comment 'preposterous': 'I don't have any clue of what he's talking about' Wisconsin senators ask outsiders not to exploit parade attack 'for their own political purposes' It's time to bury ZombieCare once and for all MORE (Wis.), James LankfordJames Paul LankfordRubio blocks quick votes on stalemated defense bill Constant threats to government funding fail the American public GOP Senate candidate says Fauci is 'mass murderer,' should be jailed rather than 'hero' Rittenhouse MORE (Okla.), Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyBob Dole: heroic, prickly and effective To counter China, the Senate must confirm US ambassadors Facebook unblocks Rittenhouse searches MORE (Mo.) and Rick Scott (Fla.) voted against him in committee. Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulRand Paul: Chris Cuomo firing 'a small step toward CNN regaining any credibility' GOP anger with Fauci rises Congress's goal in December: Avoid shutdown and default MORE (R-Ky.) wasn't present, but did vote "no" by proxy. 

Hawley previously warned that he would slow down the Senate's confirmation of Mayorkas.

"I cannot consent to skip the standard vetting process and fast-track this nomination when so many questions remain unanswered," Hawley said in a statement earlier this month. 

Democrats are hoping to confirm Mayorkas this week. 

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Schumer said on Wednesday that one GOP senator was holding up the nomination. 

"The Senate must continue the process of confirming President Biden’s Cabinet by installing Alejandro Mayorkas to serve as secretary of Homeland Security. ... Unfortunately, because of the objections of one member, the Senate has not been allowed to vote on this nomination yet," Schumer said from the Senate floor.

Updated at 4:28 p.m.