- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell lambasted Democrats on Tuesday for suggesting the GOP was being unfair in holding up President Biden’s nominees. 

“Even with the time spent on impeachment, [several of Mr. Biden’s nominees] were confirmed faster than President Trump’s nominees,” Mr. McConnell said from the floor of the Senate. “Most of them received a more bipartisan margin than four years ago.”

Mentioning several cabinet appointees, including Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, the minority leader argued that Republicans were happy to vote for “qualified and mainstream individuals.” 

“This administration is receiving perfectly fair treatment,” Mr. McConnell said. “Frankly, the president and his team must be thrilled that Senate Republicans are proving to be more fair and more principled on personnel matters than the Democratic minority’s behavior just four years ago.” 

The remarks come as some of Mr. Biden’s nominees have stalled because of senatorial holds. The legislative tactic allows a senator to block confirmation of a particular nominee until at least 60-votes are obtained to move forward. 

Currently, Mr. Biden’s choices to helm the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Interior Department face such holds. 

William Burns, the president’s nominee for CIA director, is being delayed by Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, over Biden administration policy towards Russia. 

Similarly, Republican Sens. Steve Daines of Montana and Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming are blocking the nomination of Rep. Deb Haaland as interior secretary. Ms. Haaland, a sitting Democratic congresswoman from New Mexico, has drawn fire from Republicans over her opposition to natural gas pipelines and drilling on federal lands. 

Both nominations are likely to move forward since several Republicans have come out in favor of the nominees. The hold on Ms. Haaland’s nomination is likely to be broken on Tuesday, according to Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer’s office. 

During his remarks on the floor of the Senate on Tuesday, Mr. McConnell asserted that delaying the confirmation process to highlight the positions and qualifications of nominees was exactly how democracy is supposed to work. 

“Republicans will continue to distinguish between qualified, mainstream people and nominees who are way outside the mainstream,” Mr. McConnell said. “We will continue to fight hard against people who are the wrong choices for key positions.”

Not doing so, Mr. McConnell claimed, would be a disservice to the “millions and millions of Americans who elected 50 Republican senators” and split the senate between two parties.

• Haris Alic can be reached at halic@washingtontimes.com.

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