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Duckworth drops threat to oppose Biden picks over diversity concerns

Duckworth drops threat to oppose Biden picks over diversity concerns
© Greg Nash

Sen. Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthSu's track record make her an excellent pick for Labor Department post Senate passes bipartisan B water infrastructure bill Senate panel advances Biden's Postal Service nominees MORE (D-Ill.) said Tuesday that she was standing down on her pledge to oppose the Biden administration's nominations in the Senate after assurances from the White House that it would do more to increase Asian American and Pacific Islander representation in the government.

In a statement obtained by NBC News, Duckworth's spokesman said that the senator "appreciates the Biden administration's assurances that it will do much more to elevate AAPI voices," while adding that she would not oppose the administration's "qualified" nominees.

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The Hill has reached out to Duckworth's office for comment.

In a separate statement obtained by CBS News, White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiBiden 'confident' meeting with Putin will take place soon Sinema urges Biden to take 'bold' action at border: 'This is a crisis' The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - More states are passing voting restrictions MORE said the administration was committed to appointing "a senior level Asian American Pacific Islander liaison."
Duckworth and Sen. Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoSenate Democrats push Biden over raising refugee cap Senate tries to shake off graveyard status Lawmakers brace for bitter fight over Biden tax plan MORE (D-Hawaii) said earlier Tuesday that they would vote against any "non-diversity" nominees until the White House provided a plan to expand representation for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in government following the White House's withdrawal of Neera TandenNeera TandenManchin touts rating as 'most bipartisan senator' Manchin says he doesn't support DC statehood, election reform bills Manchin floats breaking up Biden's infrastructure proposal MORE to lead the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
 
"I am a 'no' vote, on the floor, on all non-diversity nominees. ... I will vote for racial minorities and LGBTQ but anybody else, I'm not voting for," Duckworth said early Tuesday.
 
Hirono joined her a few hours later, adding that their effort was "not about pitting one diversity group against another."
 
"I'm happy to vote for a Hispanic, a Black person, an LGBTQ person, an AAPI person. I'd just like to see more diversity representation," said the Hawaii Democrat.
 
The two Democrats could have caused a major headache for the White House in a divided 50-50 Senate, where nominations to which Republicans opposed would easily be stymied by the pair's "no" votes.