Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the confirmation of President Biden’s cabinet nominees. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
As we move through the first full week of the Biden Administration, the Senate will continue the important work of confirming President Biden’s cabinet. Today, the Senate will hold a confirmation vote for Tony Blinken to be the next Secretary of State.
Mr. Blinken is just the right person to rebuild and reassert America’s national security prerogatives on the global stage, and re-establish the first instrument of American power: diplomacy. For four years, the failed diplomacy of the Trump administration weakened our alliances, strengthened and emboldened our adversaries, and tarnished America’s reputation abroad. We must re-affirm our commitment to NATO and other critical alliances around the world.
We must hold Russia accountable for its malicious interference in democracies. We must confront China’s economic, political and human rights abuses. And we must work with the family of nations to combat the existential threat of climate change.
Once confirmed, Mr. Blinken will also inherit a State Department workforce in desperate need of a leader that knows that everyone on the team plays a critical role in advancing America’s interests abroad. Under President Trump, our nation’s diplomats and State Department civilians were relegated to the sidelines and too many positions in the State department were left vacant or relegated to irrelevance.
So none of this will be easy—but I am confident that Mr. Blinken is exactly the right person for the job. I look forward to seeing this chamber confirm his nomination later today.
And after that, both parties must keep working together to confirm the rest of President Biden’s outstanding cabinet. We are off to a decent pace with the confirmations of the President’s Secretaries of Defense, Treasury, and the Director of National Intelligence. I appreciate the Republican Leader’s cooperation and hope it will continue, because the country needs that. That pace must continue this week with the confirmation of the Secretaries of Homeland Security and Transportation.
After that, we need a Health and Human Services Secretary installed to oversee the public health response to COVID-19; an Education Secretary to facilitate the safe re-opening of schools, guided by the science; a Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to help America’s struggling families stay in their homes during this economic crisis.
The Senate is working at an encouraging pace, and will not let up.