Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor to lay out the importance of confirming President Biden’s nominees to the Department of State and other agencies that play an indispensable role in keeping America safe. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
Now, on the activity happening on the floor today: thanks to the political stunts of a handful of obstructionist Republicans, the Senate is going to spend a lot of extra time today on something that is generally a routine process: confirming uncontroversial—but critical—nominees to the Department of State and other important agencies.
Of all the mandates of government, there is one that holds importance above all others: keeping the American people safe from all threats, foreign and domestic.
To fulfill this responsibility, the President relies on a vast army of dedicated public servants across the government. They are the expert diplomats, undersecretaries, and assistant secretaries whom we rarely hear of in the news but they play an indispensable role in keeping America safe. Often times there are quiet heroes.
But today, an alarming number of posts essential for our national security remain vacant, because a handful of Republicans have decided to hijack the confirmation process and put a hold on not just a few but on many critical nominees.
As a result, today we are going to have to take the long way to move forward with seven of the nominees currently on hold. We need to get these confirmed as soon as possible. And if the irrational stonewalling by Republicans of these noncontroversial nominees continues, we may need to take this tedious exercise again and a greater magnitude.
Republicans responsible for holding up these confirmations are deliberately
making the American people less safe, in a vain and futile effort to enhance
their own political fortunes. Every single one of these nominees was reported
out of committee
s with bipartisan support. There is no rational basis
for their delay. The fleeting gain these Republicans receive will pale in
comparison to the damage they are causing to our country.
It is not just an issue of a few nominees here and there, this is scores of diplomats and other public servants who are unable to get to work because a few members of this body are holding everything up. It’s intentional sabotage of this chamber’s operation, and it’s going to hurt our government’s ability to respond to crises around the world.
Imagine if you dial 9-11 but nobody’s been hired to pick up the phone on the other side. That’s more or less what these Republicans are doing to many of our diplomats who are often the first line of defense when an international crisis breaks out.
Of course, this chamber, under this leadership, is not going to tolerate a few members who want to muck up the confirmation process to make a scene. It will just take a little longer to get them done. Maybe nights, maybe weekends.
We will focus today on pushing these nominees through, for the sake of our national security.