Officials from Joe Biden’s transition team urge the Senate to swiftly confirm the president-elect’s national security team.
« Our national security is at stake as the United States struggles to emerge from this unprecedented public health crisis and historic economic recession, » team spokesman Andrew Bates told Fox News. « And in the face of urgent threats, including more actions planned by violent extremists after the assault on Capitol Hill, we cannot afford gaps in national security leadership or further delays by Senate Republicans. »
Democrats crippled hearings for most of Trump’s nominees four years ago, and most of the nominees, apart from their defense secretary and the secretary of the Interior Department, took days or weeks to confirm, but Biden hopes Republicans move faster, especially in the light of January 6. Rape of the Capitol.
Biden has announced his elections for all cabinet positions, as well as a variety of other roles. But the Senate could face a dilemma: The House of Representatives impeached Trump just seven days before he left office, setting up an impeachment in the upper house in the future.
That could hamper plans by Senate Democrats to hear and confirm Biden’s nominees, a key priority when Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) soon becomes Majority Leader.
Biden announced Wednesday night that he supports impeachment, but asked the Senate to take time to address other issues.
President-elect Joe Biden speaks during an event at The Queen Theater in Wilmington, Delaware, on January 8, 2021 (Susan Walsh / AP Photo)
“This nation also remains in the grip of a deadly virus and a reeling economy. I hope the Senate leadership will find a way to deal with its constitutional responsibilities in impeachment while also working on the other pressing issues of this nation, ”he said in a statement.
“From confirmations to key positions such as Secretaries of National Security, State, Defense, Treasury and Director of National Intelligence, to launching our vaccine program and getting our economy running again. Too many of our compatriots have suffered for too long in the past year to delay this urgent work.
Biden had previously suggested that the Senate spend half of each day on trial and the other half listening and confirming its nominees.
For now, Republicans remain in control of the Senate. It is officially out of session until January 19, although the Senate Intelligence Committee will meet on January 15 to hear from Biden’s Director of National Intelligence candidate Avril Haines.
The Senate Finance and Foreign Relations committees also have hearings scheduled for Secretary of the Treasury candidate Janet Yellen and Secretary of State candidate Antony Blinken.
For Biden’s team, that’s not enough.
« While some hearings have been scheduled, the American people deserve assurances that quick votes will take place on the floor, » Bates told Fox. « Progress toward confirmations is still far behind what it was at this point during the last two presidential transitions, and it is essential that key national security and economic leaders are confirmed and in place from day one.