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Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On Senate Vote To Discharge The Nomination Of Steven Dettelbach To Be ATF Director

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor ahead the Senate vote to discharge the nomination of Steven Dettelbach to be Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for consideration by the full Senate. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks:

As we await the completion of the gun safety bill, today the Senate is taking another important step to protect communities form gun violence: moving forward with the nomination of Steve Dettelbach to be Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

In a few moments, I will move to discharge Mr. Dettelbach’s nomination from the Judiciary Committee. After that, I am going to make sure his nomination moves through this chamber rapidly. The bipartisan gun safety legislation currently being negotiated is crucially important, but so is having a fully staffed ATF. My colleagues, listen to this, we haven't had a director of ATF since 2015. Gun violence is ripping through the nation, killing so many, and we still don't have a Director of ATF. That is just outrageous at a time when we need one more than ever.

At a time when Americans are sick and tired of our country’s gun violence epidemic, we should be sprinting—sprinting to confirm someone whose job would be precisely to keep Americans safe from gun violence, and that’s exactly what the ATF Director – the new ATF Director – will do.

The ATF may not always capture the spotlight but it is vital in stopping gun trafficking, in preventing illegal possession of firearms, and making sure our kids can’t get their hands on dangerous weapons.  It is still so confounding to realize we haven't had somebody there, because people have blocked it, since 2015.

An organization as important as the ATF absolutely needs to have a Senate-confirmed director in place, and though we haven’t had one in seven years, we are going to change that very, very soon.

Having a strong, qualified nomination like Mr. Dettelbach will certainly help reduce the scourge of gun violence in the country.

Once again: after I move to discharge Mr. Dettelbach, I am going to make sure his nomination moves rapidly through this chamber. We need to fill this vacancy that has been blocked by the other side far too often.