Alejandro Mayorkas headed toward confirmation to lead Homeland Security
By John Wagner, Nick Miroff and Felicia Sonmez
Mayorkas was headed toward confirmation as homeland security secretary following a procedural vote by the Senate on Thursday.
With the 55-to-42 vote to limit debate, a final Senate vote is scheduled for late Monday afternoon. Mayorkas, a former deputy secretary at the Department of Homeland Security, would become the fifth Biden Cabinet pick to win Senate confirmation.
Senate Democrats had planned to move the nomination more quickly.
In floor remarks Thursday morning, Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) singled out Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.). Hawley this week moved to block the fast-track nomination process, saying he was dissatisfied with Mayorkas’s responses to questions about Biden’s immigration agenda.
“In the wake of January 6, the threat of violence and domestic terrorism remains of great concern,” Schumer said. “But because of the tactics of some Republican members, particularly the junior senator from Missouri, Mr. Mayorkas’s nomination is being needlessly stalled.”
Schumer argued that disagreeing with a nominee’s views on some policy issues “is not a sufficient reason to oppose a nomination, especially one as important as homeland security.”
During his confirmation hearing last week, Mayorkas told senators he would carry out Biden’s immigration overhaul while intensifying efforts to combat domestic extremism.
But some Senate Republicans raised concerns about a 2015 inspector general’s report that said Mayorkas intervened in a visa program for wealthy investors at the behest of politically connected Democrats. The report found that Mayorkas, then-head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, did not break any laws but created the appearance of “special access” because he got involved in three projects that were headed for rejection, and all were approved.