Congress gears up for fight over Biden Cabinet nominees


While more attention will be paid to Wednesday’s inauguration of Joe Biden, the real drama this week may come when Senate committees hold confirmation hearings for several of the president-elect’s Cabinet picks.

Confirmation hearings are often marked by partisan differences, and this week is likely to be no different. In November, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who sits on the Senate Intelligence and Foreign Relations Committees, expressed broad opposition to Biden’s selections.

“Biden’s cabinet picks went to Ivy League schools, have strong resumes, attend all the right conferences & will be polite & orderly caretakers of America’s decline,” Rubio tweeted, adding that he supports “American greatness” and has “no interest in returning to the ‘normal’ that left us dependent on China.”

The action kicks off Tuesday morning, with the Senate Finance Committee hosting Treasury secretary nominee Janet Yellen, the Senate Intelligence Committee holding a hearing for Director of National Intelligence pick Avril Haines, and Homeland Security secretary nominee Alejandro Mayorkas appearing before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

That afternoon, Biden’s pick for secretary of State, Antony Blinken, will have a hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and the Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing for Defense secretary nominee Lloyd J. Austin III. Finally, Thursday will see the hearing for Transportation secretary nominee Pete Buttigieg before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.

Yellen, among the first to face a hearing this week, is no stranger to the confirmation process, having gone through it when she became head of the Federal Reserve in 2014. Back then, she was opposed by 26 Republicans when the full Senate voted. Five of those senators are currently on the Finance Committee.

Blinken is likely to face questions from Republicans who are concerned that the incoming administration will adopt similar foreign policy approaches to the Obama administration. He could also be asked about his attitude toward entering into a new nuclear deal with Iran, as well as his approach to China. The Trump administration has taken a strong stance against Iran, and curr… (Read more)

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