Josh Hawley blocks Biden cabinet appointment
Josh Hawley blocks Biden's cabinet meeting
(Photo by Samuel Corum / Getty Images)
Josh Hawley has blocked the quick confirmation of Joe Biden's decision to head the Department of Homeland Security.
The Missouri Senator announced that he will delay the appointment of Alejandro Mayorkas just hours before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee hearing with the candidate is closed.
"Mr Mayorkas has not adequately explained how he will enforce federal law and secure the southern border, as President-elect Biden has promised to take back key enforcement and security measures," Hawley said in a statement.
Mr Hawley's move, widely condemned for protesting the confirmation of Mr Biden's election victory, came as the Senate began a hectic schedule of hearings for cabinet candidates.
Three candidates, Mr. Mayorkas, Janet Yellen as Treasury Secretary and Avril Haines, candidate for National Intelligence, had hearings Tuesday morning.
Ms. Yellen told the Senate Finance Committee she would pressure Congress "to act big" to help struggling Americans and prevent a "longer, more painful recession now".
"The damage was great and as the president-elect said last Thursday, our answer must be too," she said of Mr Biden's $ 1.9 trillion Covid bailout plan.
During his hearing, Mayorkas, who would become the first Latino to head DHS, stated that his agency would focus on right-wing extremists and the threat of white supremacists.
"The threat of domestic extremism is one of the major challenges facing the DHS," he said.
Following Mr Hawley's action, 60 Senators, including 10 Republicans, will now have to vote to move on to the Mayorkas nomination.
Previously, he was deputy secretary of DHS under the Obama administration and did not receive any Republican votes when he was sustained in 2013.
Hearings were expected on Tuesday afternoon for two other candidates, Lloyd Austin as Secretary of Defense and Antony Blinken as Secretary of State.
The Defense Minister has been sustained on the first day of hearings every time since 1993 as a sign of national strength.
The retired three-star general will need a special waiver as he has been a uniformed officer for the past seven years.
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