Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On The Urgent Need To Confirm Homeland Security Nominee Mayorkas And President Biden’s Well-Qualified Cabinet Nominees Without Further Delay

January 27, 2021

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the need to confirm President Biden’s Homeland Security nominee, Alejandro Mayorkas, as soon as possible. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

It has been three weeks since a mob of domestic terrorists stormed the U.S. Capitol in an effort to thwart our democratic system of government. In the weeks since, the underlying threat of violence to our government remains a great concern. One of the most important responsibilities of the new Administration—of any administration—is to protect our country and its citizens.

The Senate must continue the process of confirming President Biden’s cabinet by installing Alejandro Mayorkas to serve as Secretary of Homeland Security.

In truth, we should have been able to confirm Mr. Mayorkas days ago. He is supremely well qualified for the job: the son of immigrants whose family escaped from the Holocaust, a prosecutor, a veteran of seven years who led the agency’s response on Ebola, cyber security, border security, counterterrorism, and domestic terrorism.

Just four years ago, President Trump had his Secretary of Homeland Security installed on Inauguration Day.

As four previous Secretaries of Homeland Security under presidents of both parties wrote recently, after the attacks on the Capitol on January 6, “it is more urgent than ever to have in place an experienced, capable and Senate-confirmed leader. That person is Mayorkas.” That was four previous Homeland Secretaries from both parties.  

Unfortunately, because of the objections of one member, the Senate has not been allowed to vote on this nomination yet.

It is the Senate’s responsibility to make sure key national security officials are on the job, keeping our country safe. My friends on the other side don’t have to agree with Mr. Mayorkas on the finer points of every policy, but surely we can all agree that he knows the department, he understands the threats to our nation’s security, and has what it takes to lead DHS. The Senate must confirm his nomination in very short order, and we will make sure that happens.

We must continue on to the rest of the President’s cabinet as well. The President’s nominee for Secretary of Transportation was voted out of committee this morning on an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 21-3. With cooperation, the Senate can and should confirm Mr. Buttigieg soon, as well. 

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