We expect the Republicans to hold up some of the national security nominees provided by Biden. What we don’t expect is for the Democrats to do the same thing.
Various national security nominees need to be confirmed by the Senate so that we can get the Department of Defense staffed properly. Of the nominees, it even includes the one responsible for leading the Air Force.
The problem is that President Biden isn’t too good at picking nominees. It’s as if he’s randomly chosen people, regardless of whether they have experience. In some instances, he’s even chosen people with rap sheets and with questionable moral compasses.
When even the Democratic Senators don’t want to confirm the nominees, you know we’re all in big trouble.
At least a dozen nominees are being stalled. Several Democrats have placed procedural holds on the confirmations. At this point, they may not get to the Senate floor until well after August recess.
Senator Elizabeth Warren seemed to be concerned about Frank Kendall, the nominee for the Air Force Secretary. She also had a procedural hold on Heidi Shyu, the one nominated to lead the Pentagon weapons development. While Warren has decided to lift her holds without explaining anything about the process, other Democrats decided they needed to put their own holds in place.
It seems that the one with the biggest hold is Frank Kendall.
What is it about Kendall that is cause for concern? During the Senate Armed Services Committee meeting on May 25, he explained that he wants to continue to reshape the Air Force and Space Force. He’s prepared to confront adversaries such as China. He explains that his priorities are straightforward and that they would “mirror precisely those articulated by Secretary of Defense Austin.”
So, is it that the Dems don’t want someone who’s going to target China? Or, is it that they have concerns about Biden’s previous pick of Austin and doesn’t want someone who’s going to mirror those priorities?
Democratic Senator Gary Peters from Michigan explains that he has holds on people and that “I don’t need to get into the details, but obviously we need to get more information.” This comment came right before meeting with Air Force officials.
It’s easy to say that if the vote were to head to the Senate floor right now, Biden’s nominees wouldn’t pass with a unanimous vote. They may not get the confirmation at all, especially with so many Democrats choosing to express their objections.
Most of the nominees that appear to be stuck in limbo are those from the Department of Defense. However, there are also a few other objections – and that includes defense-related jobs at the Energy Department. Frank Rose and Jill Hruby have objections hanging over them, too. These are individuals tapped at the National Nuclear Security Administration.
Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby has explained that Pentagon leaders are eager to see the nominees in place quickly. The real question is whether they named the nominees or if Biden did. We may never know the answer to that, though we’ll all guess. After all, how much work is Biden really doing when he can’t even remember what day of the week it is on most days?
It seems more like a pissing match than anything. Two of the Democratic Senators seem to be upset that their Air Force base wasn’t chosen to house an F-35 Joint Strike Fighter international training center. The Michigan senators believe that it should have been Selfridge in Michigan that got it – and instead, it went to Ebbing Air National Guard Base in Arkansas.
Is that the only thing standing in the way of confirming Biden’s long list of nominees? Time will tell.