Some congressional Republicans, for good reason, have yet to acknowledge Joe Biden as the president-elect. Others have not only acknowledged Biden as such, but are ready to confirm his cabinet picks.
Politico reports that Sens. Mitt Romney (R-UT), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) have all expressed a willingness to confirm Biden’s cabinet, so long as one condition is met: the individuals he selects must be within the “mainstream.”
In their own words
Politico spoke to all three senators for their report.
Romney told Politico that he believes a “president ought to be able to pick his or her Cabinet barring someone who is out of the mainstream of either party.”
Murkowski made a similar statement, saying, “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.”
And, Collins simply said that she gives “great latitude” to presidential appointments.
A critical number
It ought to be noted that, in recent years, these three senators have been the swing votes on key issues, and when it comes to Biden’s cabinet it appears that things will be no different.
Control of the Senate in 2021 is still up for grabs. Thus far, in the 2020 election, the Republicans have won 50 seats and the Democrats have won 48. The remaining two seats, and thus control of the Senate, have come down to two runoff elections that will take place in Georgia in early January.
But, in terms of confirming Biden’s cabinet, this is irrelevant. Even if the Republicans do go into 2021 with a 52 to 48 lead in the Senate, they will still not be able to stop a Biden appointment if Romney, Murkowski, and Collins side with the Democrats.
What is the mainstream these days anyway?
This would appear to be the key question here since Romney and Murkowski said that they will confirm Biden’s appointments so long as the individuals selected are in the mainstream.
So, who would Romney and Murkowski consider to be outside of the mainstream? How about Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT)? Unfortunately, we simply don’t know the answer to that question, although we do know that both Warren and Sanders are making a push to join Biden’s cabinet.
If Biden does go on to be named the next U.S. president, Republican Senators aren’t going to put up a fight about moderate individuals. They would only seek to deny extremist candidates. Biden is expected to start naming his cabinet picks within the next week.