Biden’s first year: About half of candidates await Senate confirmation
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President Biden marked his first year in office with more than half of his Senate nominees confirmed and some high-profile withdrawals.
As of this week, Biden has appointed 678 people to executive, judge, attorney and marshal positions. So far, 356 of them have been confirmed – or about 53% – according to the White House.
This leaves 322 candidates awaiting confirmation by the Senate.
WHITE HOUSE FIRES BIDEN’S INSIDE CANDIDATE AFTER MURKOWSKI’S OPPOSITION
With Democrats in control of the Senate, Biden was able to fill his top cabinet secretary positions within months. In his first month in office, the Senate confirmed several high-profile and historic candidates, including Antony Blinken as Secretary of State, Janet Yellen as Secretary of the Treasury, Lloyd Austin as Secretary of Defense and Avril Haines as Director of National Intelligence.
But Biden has had a few bumps along the way.
Biden has had to withdraw 10 nominations so far and has also chosen not to renominate seven others, after their nominations were returned at the end of the year, according to the White House.
Here is an overview of the most publicized withdrawals:
Biden has appointed Neera Tanden as director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Tanden, the former director of the left-leaning Center for American Progress, couldn’t find enough support in Congress, in part because of her impassioned Twitter posts.
She now serves in the White House, as staff secretary, which does not require Senate confirmation.
NEERA TANDEN APPOINTED WHITE HOUSE STAFF SECRETARY AFTER OMB APPOINTMENT
the White House withdrew the appointment of David Chipman as head of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco (ATF) and Firearms in September.
Chipman, who had a history of caustic comments about gun owners and worked for gun control groups for years after his career as an ATF agent, was strongly opposed by Republicans . But he struggled to win the support of several Democrats, who never explicitly opposed Chipman’s nomination, but never publicly backed him either.
Additionally, Chipman had been accused of racial bias by a black ex-ATF agent, for falsely claiming he cheated on a promotion exam. Separately, a group of former ATF agents wrote a letter to the Senate seriously questioning Chipman’s fitness to serve, after several current and former agents called him a ‘tyrant’ and a ‘militant’. .
WHITE HOUSE REMOVES CONTROVERSIAL ATF NOMINEE DAVID CHIPMAN
Saule Omarova withdrew her appointment in December to head the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), a Treasury Department agency that plays a major role in overseeing the nation’s banks.
Progressives hailed her nomination as a chance for the agency to carry out tougher oversight, but critics argued Omarova was a “radical choice”, saying the nominee wanted to nationalize the bank, while questioning whether she remained attached to the ideologies of her native Soviet Union.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more radical choice for a regulatory place in our federal government,” Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., said during an October speech opposing his confirmation.
Additionally, Omarova, who was 28 at the time, was arrested in 1995 for “retail theft” from a TJ Maxx store in Madison, Wisconsin.
THE APPOINTMENT OF OMAROVA TO BE THE TOP BANKING REGULATOR TO BE REMOVED
the White House never officially named Elizabeth Klein, but Biden had to scrap plans to make Klein deputy secretary of the Interior Department in March.
Biden’s presidential transition organization announced Klein as its pick for the job on Jan. 18, but she faced opposition from Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, because of her past positions on oil development. , gas and mining in Alaska.
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Fox News’ Michael Lee, Brooke Singman and Tyler Olson contributed to this report.