President Biden’s pick to lead Homeland Security survived a filibuster vote Thursday, leaving a clear path to confirmation early next week.
Alejandro Mayorkas is the most controversial of Mr. Biden’s early picks, and Republicans were hoping to delay his installment. But Democrats forced a vote to head off a filibuster and prevailed, 55-42.
Mr. Mayorkas has an extensive record at Homeland Security, having served as chief of one of its immigration agencies and then, in the latter year of the Obama administration, as deputy secretary.
Democrats said that makes him the perfect fit at a time when the department is at the center of so many crises and controversies, from coronavirus to cybersecurity breaches to domestic terror threats.
But his experience has drawbacks, Republicans said, pointing to the eviscerating report by an inspector general accusing Mr. Mayorkas of ethics lapses as he pushed the interests of high-powered Democrats while head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
He becomes the most wounded of Mr. Biden’s picks so far and is the first to have to survive a filibuster vote.
The other Cabinet posts already confirmed were all by strong bipartisan votes, with a majority of Republicans backing the nominees.