Senate Judiciary Nominees – The First Round of Biden Nominees for Senate Confirmation
The Obama administration is currently putting together its Cabinet, and Vice President Joe Biden has expanded the list of key positions in the White House by appointing a number of high-level officials. The cabinet typically includes the vice president and heads of 15 federal executive departments, but Biden added top-level positions such as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, the Director of National Intelligence, and the U.S. Trade Representative. Cabinet members must receive a simple majority vote in the Senate, and some high-level appointees are appointives by the president.
In the first round of nominations, Biden’s pick for Tennessee federal judge Andre Mathis has drawn fire from Republican senators despite not needing their support to proceed. Yet, even if he didn’t have to win Senate support for his pick, the controversy underscores the difficulty of gaining consensus on red-state nominees. Nevertheless, the Biden administration has a strong track record of appointing diverse judicial candidates. Before Biden took office, White House counsel Dana Remus laid out their priorities for diversity on federal court nominees.
The American Accountability Foundation (A.A.F.) is a new dark-money group aimed at keeping Biden’s nominees from being confirmed. It is unclear what its exact goals are, but many conservative groups are working hard to block the appointment of these nominees. They may also try to discredit the bipartisan nominees by making sure they have the support of both the Democratic and Republican parties. It is worth noting that these groups have a history of sabotaging President Obama’s nominees.
While Senators have their own reasons for delaying the nominations of Biden, Republicans are using a national security concern to block them. For example, Ted Cruz is concerned about the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany through the Baltic Sea. The Senate has already passed sanctions to halt this pipeline, but it remains unclear how the Republican leadership will respond to his efforts. The Biden administration needs to avoid further sabotage by preventing such nominees from being confirmed.
The number of people Joe Biden nominated for Senate confirmation appears to be comparable to that of President Obama and Bush. However, it is noteworthy that more Biden nominees are being confirmed each day than in the Trump era. While there is a slight difference in the number of nominees, the total is much higher than under the former administration. And the Biden nominations are not the only ones causing consternation in the White House, the Treasury Department, and international circles.
A major threat to the confirmation of Biden’s Federal Reserve nominees has emerged: Republicans are stalling votes on Lael Brainard and Jerome Powell for second terms. Meanwhile, Republicans are stalling the confirmation of Sarah Bloom Raskin as vice chair of supervision. The Republicans argue that Raskin has not provided complete answers to their questions about her contacts with the government and Reserve Trust. While Democrats have the power to change the rules of the Senate, it would be risky to block a high-profile Federal Reserve nominee.