Chuck Schumer presses Senate to confirm Biden Cabinet before Inauguration Day


Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer is calling on the U.S. Senate to begin confirmation hearings for Joe Biden’s Cabinet before Inauguration Day in January.

The New York Democrat urged his Senate colleagues to move ahead with hearings on the nominees in early January, speaking on Monday even as the election has yet to be certified and with Biden not officially declared president-elect.

“Everyone knows that the Senate plays a pivotal role in confirming the new president’s Cabinet,” Schumer said.

“In the midst of this once-in-a-century crisis, it’s imperative the next administration can count on the Senate to confirm its cabinet without delay,” he added.

(Source: CBS News)

“Hearings on President-elect Biden’s nominees should begin in January immediately after the Georgia runoff elections,” Schumer continued, referring to runoffs set for Jan. 5 in which incumbent Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue face off against Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock.

The pivotal Georgia race will determine which party will control the Senate for the next term.

Schumer repeated his point adding that key Cabinet officials could be confirmed on the Senate floor on January 20 “and soon thereafter, which is traditional for a new president,” noting that confirmation hearings for Cabinet picks were held in “early January” for both incoming Presidents Trump and Obama “before the inauguration.”

Six of Obama’s Cabinet picks were confirmed on day one of his administration and then-President George W. Bush saw seven of his nominees confirmed at the start. By Feb. 10 of that year, Bush’s entire 14-member Cabinet was in place. In contrast, Trump only had two of his choices confirmed on Inauguration Day, former Secretary of Defense James Mattis and former Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly. By Feb. 10 2017, he had only seven of his Cabinet members confirmed.

“Majority and minority staff should begin preparation for those hearings as President-elect Biden names his Cabinet,” Schumer continued in his floor speech Monday.

He went on to highlight the “stark contrast” between Biden’s current picks and Trump’s initial roster of officials when he took office in 2017. Lacking complete self-awareness, Schumer claimed the Trump administration’s “early days” were “defined by high-level appointments of individuals who were manifestly unqualified, plagued by ethical complaints or swimming in conflicts on interest – sometimes all three.”

Biden set off a round of criticism after he announced several controversial appointees, including former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen to serve as Treasury secretary, Antony Blinken as secretary of state and Jake Sullivan as national security adviser.

Neera Tanden, president of the liberal Center for American Progress who was named as director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, was called out as Biden’s “worst nominee” yet by Texas Senator John Cornyn.

Biden himself pushed the Senate last week to begin confirmation hearings for his Cabinet nominees.

“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,” he said. “Let’s begin that work to heal and unite, to heal and unite America as well as the world.”

Meanwhile, Schumer’s call for rushing confirmation hearings set off a wave of reactions on social media.

Frieda Powers

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