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Schumer moves to bring up Becerra's nomination after committee tie

Schumer moves to bring up Becerra's nomination after committee tie
© Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerSenate to vote next week on repealing Trump methane rule  Joe Lieberman to push senators on DC statehood On The Money: Yellen touts 'whole-of-economy' plan to fight climate change | Senate GOP adopts symbolic earmark ban, digs in on debt limit MORE (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday moved to bring Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraBecerra calls on Hispanic Americans to sign up for ACA Overnight Health Care: All adults in US now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine | White House launches media blitz to promote vaccines Top House Republicans ask Harris for meeting on border MORE's nomination to lead the Department of Health and Human Services to the full Senate after a committee deadlocked on advancing President BidenJoe BidenBiden announces picks to lead oceans, lands agencies Overnight Defense: Top general concerned about Afghan forces after US troops leave | Pentagon chief: Climate crisis 'existential' threat to US national security | Army conducts review after 4 Black soldiers harassed at Virginia IHOP Feds expect to charge scores more in connection to Capitol riot MORE's nominee to lead the agency.

This is the first time Schumer has had to try to force a nomination out of committee, a step he can take under the rules governing the 50-50 Senate. 

"It's confounding to me that Mr. Becerra ... did not get some votes from the other side of the aisle. He is an eminently qualified member. He was an outstanding member of Congress, he was a very good attorney general, and he has led the charge to keep people's health care," Schumer said.  

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If Republicans are opposed to Becerra because of his defense of the Affordable Care Act, Schumer added that he would be "surprised. It's yesterday's news."  

Under the rule invoked by Schumer, the Senate will hold a four-hour debate and then a vote on Thursday on whether to bring Becerra's nomination to the floor, where Democrats will need only a simple majority to move forward.

Schumer would then need to formally tee up votes on ending debate and confirmation, a step that will eat up days of time, before the Senate can take a final vote on Becerra's nomination.

The Senate Finance Committee split evenly last week along party lines in a vote on advancing Becerra's nomination to the full Senate.

Republicans quickly hardened in opposition against Becerra after he was nominated, attacking him over what they say is a lack of health care experience as well as his views on abortion and his support for "Medicare for All." 

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It is unclear if any GOP senators will vote for his nomination in the full Senate. If they all oppose him, he'll need the support of every Democratic senator and Vice President Harris to break a tie. 

Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinCornyn, Sinema unveil bill aimed at confronting border surge US Chamber of Commerce comes out in support of bipartisan, bicameral immigration bill GOP sees immigration as path to regain power MORE (D-Ill.) told reporters on Tuesday that he expects Becerra will have the votes to get confirmed, but Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinOn The Money: White House sees GOP infrastructure plan as starting point | Biden to propose capital gains tax hike House approves bill to make DC a state NRA unveils ad campaign to push back on Biden's gun agenda MORE (D-W.Va.) indicated last week that he hadn't made a decision.

Heritage Action, a conservative grassroots group, announced last week that it was spending $500,000 on an ad campaign to try to pressure Manchin and Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Mark KellyMark KellyConservative House members call on Senate to oppose ATF nominee House Democrats eye passing DC statehood bill for second time Manchin throws support behind union-backed PRO Act MORE (D-Ariz.) to vote against his nomination.