(AmericanPoliticalDaily.com)- New Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is plowing ahead with a plan to hold confirmation hearings for a list of President Joe Biden’s Cabinet nominees.
While the House of Representatives is hard at work trying to pass the president’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package through by using budget reconciliation, the Senate will be focused instead on the confirmation hearings. That means that even if the House passes the package this Friday as Speaker Nancy Pelosi said is possible, it may mean the Senate won’t take up the bill immediately next week.
Schumer has said that the Senate will be hard at work confirming the nominees so Biden can have a full Cabinet at his disposal. He said:
“The Senate will continue the process of confirming President Biden’s nominees with a vote on Linda Thomas-Greenfield to serve as the next U.N. ambassador.”
Initial hearings for Thomas-Greenfield took place Monday night. Following that hearing, it’s likely that the Senate will turn to the Secretary of Agriculture. Biden’s nominee there is Tom Vilsack.
That hearing shouldn’t be too challenging, though, as the Senate already came to a deal earlier in the month that will see the upper chamber confirm Vilsack on Tuesday. Vilsack held that same position under former President Barack Obama, so most of the Senators are familiar with him.
Beyond these nominees, Schumer is working on setting votes for Jennifer Granholm, the former governor of Michigan who has been nominated to head up the Department of Energy, and Miguel Cardona, the commissioner of education in Connecticut who has been nominated to be the Secretary of Education.
As Schumer said:
“Both nominees have been advanced by the respective committees with bipartisan votes, a pattern this week and at a time when our nation is gripped by a once-in-a-century crisis. The president deserves to have his nominees approved quickly by this chamber so they can immediately get to work healing our great country.”
Biden got off to a slow start confirming his nominees. Only Avril Haines, the director of national intelligence, was confirmed on his first day in the White House. Since then, though, Biden has been able to confirm six more nominees.
They include Denis McDonough as Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Pete Buttigieg as Secretary of Transportation, Alejandro Mayorkas as Secretary of Homeland Security, Antony Blinken as Secretary of State, Janet Yellen as Secretary of the Treasury and Lloyd Austin as Secretary of Defense.
Most of those confirmations were fairly easy, with the exception of Mayorkas, who passed through with a vote of 56-43.
Now, though, some of Biden’s more challenging confirmations are due for hearings. While Thomas-Greenfield and Vilsack may be easy, others are not likely to be like that.
Challenging nomination hearings could be on the docket for Xavier Becerra as Secretary of Health and Human Services, Deb Haaland as Secretary of the Interior and especially Neera Tanden as Director of the Office of Management and Budget.