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Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On Confirming Critical National Security And Public Safety Nominees Despite Republican Obstruction

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding continuing to confirm President Biden’s nominees. Senate Republicans are currently blocking critical national security and public safety nominations from confirmation. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

Last night I filed cloture on additional Defense nominees, including Celeste Wallander, nominated to serve as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs.

If this were any other time, Ms. Wallander’s nomination would have almost certainly sailed through the Senate with unanimous consent, without the need for a roll call vote.

At the committee level, her nomination was approved with strong support from both parties, and frankly she should have been approved unanimously the moment she was reported out of the Armed Services Committee. Many on both sides of the aisle recognize we need her at the Pentagon now: as one of our nation’s top experts on Russian affairs, her leadership is vital right now.

Sadly, sadly, one Republican—just one—has objected to Ms. Wallander’s confirmation without offering any concrete justification. So we’re going to take up floor time to advance her nomination the long way, just as we’ve done for many nominees who’ve faced unprecedented obstruction by a small group of Republicans. This is not the majority of the Republican Party or majority of Republican Senators, but a small group using the Senate rules—many of which are arcane and outdated—to stand in the way and slows the whole process down, endangering our security.

Let’s be clear: to intentionally delay the confirmation of a critical Pentagon position—an expert on Russia at a time when we need her in the position most—just to score political points is the definition of cynical, and it is actively making the American people less safe.

Sadly, Ms. Wallander is far from the only nominee being held up by these obstructionists on the right. The junior Senator from Arkansas has also placed blanket holds on a number of U.S. Attorneys and U.S. Marshals—men and women whose job is to literally protect the public and prosecute criminals. If my Republican colleagues are so concerned about public safety, why are they standing in the way of confirming some of the most important law enforcement officers in the federal government?

Its Alice-in-Wonderland logic. It is delay for delay’s sake, especially when new reasons keep coming up to justify these tactics. One reason is rebutted, then another comes up. It seems like some of these colleagues just want to obstruct to obstruct, oppose to oppose. Bad for America. Bad for Democrats, bad for Republicans.

Hijacking the rules of the Senate to place blanket holds on nominees has no legitimate justification. And when it comes to nominees tasked with advancing our national defense, our diplomacy, and our public safety, it only makes the American people less safe.

As long as these delay tactics continue, we will continue to hold votes on these nominees as necessary.

If that means more late nights with a large number of votes in one sitting—like we had to do over the last two weeks—then that’s what we will do.