House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is making it clear that she wants the confirmation of Biden administration Cabinet appointments to be a priority in the U.S. Senate.
In a statement on Monday, the Democratic leader called for hearings to begin even before Inauguration Day, as reported by the Washington Times.
“Safeguard our national security”
Although President Donald Trump has not conceded the recent presidential election to the Democratic nominee, Biden’s transition team continues to press forward with an emerging slate of administration appointments.
The former vice president named several proposed staffers to national security and foreign policy posts on Monday, with Pelosi weighing in on the perceived importance of quick action.
She wrote that the Senate should “follow precedent” with hearings beginning before Jan. 20, insisting that it would be necessary to “safeguard our national security.”
It is not uncommon for the Senate to begin hearings during the transition, but Trump and many of his supporters continue to express their belief that Biden’s win was somehow the result of fraud or a rigged election system. Nevertheless, Pelosi insisted that Biden’s picks must be approved expediently.
“Our Democratic House Majority looks forward to working with this outstanding team to honor our sacred mission to protect the American people, particularly our brave servicemembers,” she wrote. “We urge the Senate to follow precedent and hold hearings on these nominees in January before the inauguration. In the mission to safeguard our national security, we cannot accept any delay.”
“He’s our president-elect”
Among Biden’s initial appointments were: John Kerry as special envoy for climate, Anthony Blinken as secretary of state, and Alejandro Mayorkas as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
Pelosi reacted by praising his “historic, high-powered national security and foreign policy team,” which she predicted would “repair the damage wrought by the Trump Administration” and “restore America’s critical preeminent role in the international arena.”
While the House speaker is expected to hold on to a slim majority for her party, the GOP appears on track to keep its lead in the Senate. In that case, Biden’s nominees could face some headwinds during the confirmation process.
Despite the contested results, a few Republicans are joining colleagues across the aisle in signaling support for Biden’s Cabinet.
As Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) said: “He’s our president-elect. All presidents have a right to their Cabinet. Our job, our role is to make sure that he selects folks that are … within the mainstream. And are good, qualified credible candidates. And if he does that, sure, I am going to work with him.”