A fight is brewing over President-elect Joe Biden’s Cabinet picks, in one of the first faceoffs b…

A fight is brewing over President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump alludes to possible 2024 run in White House remarksTiger King’s attorney believes they’re close to getting pardon from TrumpCruz urges Supreme Court to take up Pennsylvania election challengeMOREs Cabinet picks, in one of the first faceoffs between the long-time dealmaker and Senate Republicans.
Tensions are building on various fronts, from complaints that Bidens team isnt coordinating with Senate Republicans to warnings that he should expect a slower pace of confirmation after years-long frustrations from GOP senators about the treatment of President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump alludes to possible 2024 run in White House remarksTrump threatens to veto defense bill over tech liability shieldTiger King’s attorney believes they’re close to getting pardon from TrumpMOREs nominees.
Biden will need GOP buy-in to ensure confirmation of his picks unless Democrats sweep the two Georgia runoff elections next month.
I really am a little surprised … that there hadnt been at least some consultation. I mean, some of these problems can be avoided and people, you know, saved from the embarrassment if there would simply be some consultation on who theyre thinking about, said Sen. John CornynJohn CornynMcCaskill: ‘Hypocrisy’ for GOP to target Biden nominee’s tweets after TrumpFormer Senate hopeful auctioning off Harley-Davidson featured prominently in her campaign adsThe Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Mastercard – GOP angst in Georgia; confirmation fight loomsMORE (R-Texas), an adviser to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPressure builds for coronavirus relief with no clear path to dealTop GOP senator warns government funding deal unlikely this weekCriminal justice groups offer support for Durbin amid fight for Judiciary spotMORE (R-Ky.).
Asked about consulting with Republicans, Sen. Kevin CramerKevin John CramerRepublicans ready to become deficit hawks again under a President BidenThe Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC – Calls mount to start transition as Biden readies Cabinet picksPressure grows from GOP for Trump to recognize Biden election winMORE (R-N.D.) said, Unless youre putting all your eggs in the Were going to win them both in Georgia basket, that would be a wise thing to do.
Sen. Mike RoundsMike RoundsRepublican frustration builds over Cabinet picksSenate GOP open to confirming Yellen to be Biden’s Treasury secretaryDemocrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picksMORE (R-S.D.) added that while there was still time for Biden to do outreach, he should keep in mind the views of Republicans who will be wary of anything that will obliterate work done under the Trump administration.
As Biden is attempting to lay out people that he thinks should be part of his Cabinet, we hope that he takes that into consideration, Rounds said.
McConnell still hasnt directly acknowledged Biden as the president-elect, and the former vice president disclosed on Tuesday that he hadnt spoken with the Senate GOP leader following the election. The two have a decades-long relationship and served together in the Senate, but any overtures between them have been on ice since Nov. 3.
Cornyn predicted Republicans would be open to reasonable nominees. But, he added, the onus was on Bidens team to reach out to McConnell.
Nominations, once largely drama-free, have emerged as lightning rods in the Senate. Democrats changed the rules in 2013 to allow all executive branch picks, and most judicial nominees, to get confirmed with a simple majority. And under a rules change in 2019 by Senate Republicans, most nominations now only require two hours of debate after overcoming a procedural hurdle on the floor, though most Cabinet picks could still face up to 30 hours of additional debate.
Republicans were frustrated in 2017 when Democrats agreed to let just two of Trumps Cabinet picks be confirmed on the first day of his administration, compared to six for then-President Obama and seven for then-President George W. Bush. By Feb. 10, Trump had seven confirmed nominees compared to Obamas 12 and Bushs 14, which was his entire Cabinet.
Democrats are ramping up pressure to quickly confirm Bidens Cabinet picks, including holding hearings before Inauguration Day.
Republican senators often argued that a president deserves broad deference when it comes to their Cabinet and official appointments and blew past controversies that would in almost any other time be disqualifying. President-elect Bidens nominees, of course, are in a different universe, Schumer said.
Well, were already starting to see the switch flip now that President-elect Biden is naming the names, Schumer added.
But Republicans, pointing back to 2017, warn that Democrats should expect delays in getting at least some of Bidens picks through the Senate if they keep control of the majority after the Jan. 5 runoffs.
I dont think theres going to be a great big hurry to confirm a whole lot of individuals right away. … Its an advice and consenttype issue with the Senate, particularly when youre from different parties, Rounds said.
Cramer said that when it comes to nominations, Democrats have made this bed. They may end up sleeping in it.
If we have the majority … any one of us can put a hold on somebody. And if we honor that, thats a pretty big problem for him, Cramer said.
Battle lines are already being drawn on key picks like Neera Tanden for director of the Office of Management and Budget and Antony Blinken for secretary of State. Biden has yet to name his picks for more politically controversial agencies like the Department of Health and Human Services, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Cornyn called Tanden radioactive. Sens. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanSenators call for passage of bill to cement alcohol excise tax reliefThe Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Mastercard – GOP angst in Georgia; confirmation fight loomsOvernight Health Care: Moderna to apply for emergency use authorization for COVID-19 vaccine candidate | Hospitals brace for COVID-19 surge | US more than doubles highest number of monthly COVID-19 cases MORE (R-Ohio) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamBarr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counselDemocracy is the MVP in 2020The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Mastercard – GOP angst in Georgia; confirmation fight loomsMORE (R-S.C.), who will oversee the two committees with joint oversight of Tandens nomination, havent committed to giving her a confirmation hearing.
Blinken, a longtime member of the foreign policy establishment, is coming under scrutiny because of his role at WestExec Advisors, a consultancy firm whose clients remain opaque. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman James Risch (R-Idaho) has brushed off questions from reporters this week about Blinken and about Bidens other national security picks.
Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonGrassley returns to Capitol after having coronavirus McConnell halts in-person Republican lunches amid COVID-19 surgeLoeffler isolating after possible COVID-19 infectionMORE (R-Wis.) wanted to talk to Blinken as part of his investigation into the Bidens an issue he hinted could come up during Blinkens confirmation process unless he agrees to an interview with Johnsons Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee staff beforehand.
Johnson also didnt rule out that he could keep trying to speak with Blinken as part of the probe even if hes confirmed as secretary of State. Though Johnson is handing over the committee gavel, hes expected to be chairman of the panels Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.
Its probably important for him to sit down and talk to us now. Hes got some answers that he needs to provide us with, Johnson said, adding that hes not really happy with Blinken.
Even as some GOP senators are sending warning signs over the looming confirmation fights, several have said that as long as Bidens picks are within the mainstream, Republicans would help confirm them.
Graham said he thought there would be a willingness by a lot of us to help confirm Cabinet picks for individuals who are competent, qualified, not over the top.
Pressed if he thought any of his GOP colleagues would use the rules to drag out or delay Bidens picks, Graham demurred, adding: Time will tell.