Biden urges Senate to take up confirmation process for cabinet picks

The path to confirmation for Biden's nominees remains unclear as control of the Senate will be decided by two runoff elections in Georgia early next year.

Biden urges Senate to take up confirmation process for cabinet picks

President-elect Joe Biden pushed the Senate on Tuesday to begin confirmation hearings for his cabinet selections in the coming weeks, a process that could put at least some leaders of the incoming administration in position to assume their roles on Inauguration Day.

"I hope these outstanding nominees received a prompt hearing, and that we can work across the aisle in good faith to move forward for the country,” Biden said Tuesday. “Let's begin that work to heal and unite, to heal and unite America as well as the world.”

Biden and his transition team this week rolled out the names of his top national security staff, as well as nominees for secretary of state and ambassador to the United Nations. The president-elect held a press event Tuesday at his home base in Wilmington, Del., to introduce the nominees.

“To the American people, this team will make us proud to be Americans,” Biden said.

The path to confirmation for Biden's nominees remains unclear as control of the Senate will be decided by two runoff elections in Georgia early next year. Senate Republicans thus far have exerted considerable caution not to run afoul of President Donald Trump's unfounded claims of election fraud by acknowledging Biden's victory. Still, lawmakers including Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) have all suggested that the incoming president is entitled to a cabinet.

Cabinet selections for incoming presidents have historically been granted hearings in their relevant Senate committees ahead of Inauguration Day. Two of President Donald Trump's original cabinet members, former Secretary of Defense James Mattis and former Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly, were confirmed on Trump's inauguration day. Former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush had six and seven members of their original cabinets confirmed on inauguration day, respectively.

Each of the Biden nominees on stage Tuesday were given time to speak, and several took time to indirectly contrast themselves with their Trump administration counterparts.

To wit, Avril Haines, Biden's designate for director of national intelligence, vowed to voice uncomfortable truths to Biden and other members of the administration. Tony Blinken, the secretary of state nominee, promised to renew America’s commitment to global alliances, as did Biden’s pick for United Nations envoy.

“Multilateralism is back,” Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the president-elect's nominee for U.S. ambassador to the U.N., said.

Blinken also recounted his stepfather’s harrowing tale escaping death during the Holocaust, in which he emerged from a hiding place in the woods after fleeing Nazis to encounter a Black American solider who emerged from a tank.

“He got down on his knees and said the only three words he knew in English his mother taught him before the war: ‘God bless America,’” Blinken said. “That's who we are. That's what America represents to the world, however imperfectly.”

The presentation came less than a day after GSA administrator Emily Murphy acquiesced to swelling pressure and allowed for the formal transition process to commence as President Donald Trump’s efforts to subvert the election results continued to evaporate. Biden said he was “pleased to have received the ascertainment” — the official term for the designation Murphy conferred to Biden — “so our teams can prepare to meet the challenges at hand.”

“And as more states certify results of this election, there's progress to wrap up our victory,” Biden said.

Neither Biden, vice president-elect Kamala Harris nor anyone else on stage took questions from the press following their remarks.

Biden’s stage-crafted event came little more than an hour after Trump bounded into the White House briefing room to hold an hastily arranged address touting the Dow Jones Industrial Average breaking the 30,000-point plateau.

Trump’s remarks lasted only a minute and the president will preside over the White House’s annual turkey pardoning ceremony this afternoon.

Source : Politico USA More