National Security

Trump DHS chief argues for swift confirmation of Biden pick amid Hawley hold

President Trump's former acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan urged the Senate to move swiftly to confirm President Biden's nominee to lead the agency as the process has been stalled by a hold from Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.).

In a letter to the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, McAleenan pressed the committee to quickly forward Alejandro Mayorkas, the former deputy Department of Homeland Security (DHS) secretary tapped by Biden to lead the agency.

"There has been a longstanding, bipartisan commitment to ensure that a duly-elected president receives swift confirmation of the national security positions in his cabinet," McAleenan wrote in a letter obtained by CNN and other outlets.

"There should be no exception to this commitment today, when multifaceted challenges and threats face our nation, and effective responses from our federal government are essential," he added.

McAleenan joins a chorus of four other former DHS chiefs who served under both parties and have argued the Senate should rapidly confirm Biden's national security picks.

Hawley, however, has placed a hold on Mayorkas nomination, arguing that he "has not adequately explained how he will enforce federal law and secure the southern border."

Defeating the hold will require a 50-vote threshold cloture vote, and while Democrats likely have the numbers to vote it down, the process eats up days of floor time.

The Senate has since confirmed two other national security nominees, approving Avril Haines as Director of National Intelligence and retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as Secretary of Defense.

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