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 SchumerThe bizarre back story of the filibuster Hillicon Valley: Biden signs order on chips | Hearing on media misinformation | Facebook's deal with Australia | CIA nominee on SolarWinds House Rules release new text of COVID-19 relief bill MORE (D-N.Y.) filed cloture on Alejandro MayorkasAlejandro MayorkasCollins urges Biden to revisit order on US-Canada border limits Politics, not racism or sexism, explain opposition to Biden Cabinet nominees Florida Republicans push Biden to implement Trump order on Venezuela 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. 


“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 HainesIntelligence official says Khashoggi report 'obviously' will challenge Saudi relationship Senate confirms former Michigan governor Granholm as Energy secretary Biden says he has read report on Khashoggi murder MORE, Defense Secretary Lloyd AustinLloyd AustinCan a common bond of service unite our nation? Politics, not racism or sexism, explain opposition to Biden Cabinet nominees Pentagon releases training materials to address extremism MORE, Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenChina traps the US into negotiations, then breaks its promises Overnight Defense: Biden sends message with Syria airstrike | US intel points to Saudi crown prince in Khashoggi killing | Pentagon launches civilian-led sexual assault commission Florida Republicans push Biden to implement Trump order on Venezuela MORE and Treasury Secretary Janet YellenJanet Louise YellenFinancial regulators home in on climate risks Treasury announces sanctions on Saudi officials following Khashoggi report Poll: Biden approval holds steady as Democrats eye .9 T COVID-19 relief bill 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 JohnsonGraham: Trump will 'be helpful' to all Senate GOP incumbents Partisan headwinds threaten Capitol riot commission Cruz hires Trump campaign press aide as communications director MORE (Wis.), James LankfordJames Paul LankfordCPAC, all-in for Trump, is not what it used to be Republicans see Becerra as next target in confirmation wars Overnight Health Care: US surpasses half a million COVID deaths | House panel advances Biden's .9T COVID-19 aid bill | Johnson & Johnson ready to provide doses for 20M Americans by end of March MORE (Okla.), Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyFive takeaways from CPAC 2021 CPAC, all-in for Trump, is not what it used to be Sunday shows preview: 2024 hopefuls gather at CPAC; House passes coronavirus relief; vaccine effort continues MORE (Mo.) and Rick Scott (Fla.) voted against him in committee. Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulOvernight Health Care: 50 million coronavirus vaccines given | Pfizer news | Biden health nominees Rand Paul criticized for questioning of transgender health nominee Haley isolated after Trump fallout 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. 

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.