McConnell vows to be 'picky' with Biden nominees if GOP wins Senate
(The Hill) – Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Monday warned that if Republicans win control of the Senate in November, President Biden’s nominees will have a tough time getting confirmed.
McConnell says he’ll be “picky” in deciding which of Biden’s nominees are moderate enough to warrant getting votes on the Senate floor.
“We’ll be way more picky over who gets to head various boards and commissions and agencies that are important to how all of you function in our society,” McConnell said at a Rotary Club luncheon in Florence, Kentucky.
Nominees such as Steve Dettelbach, Biden’s choice to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or Arianna Freeman, Biden’s pick to sit on the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, both needed discharge votes just to move out of committee in the current Senate, which is evenly split between the two parties. Neither nominee likely would have been confirmed under a Senate GOP majority.
Biden may also have a tough time getting a vote on a Supreme Court nominees. McConnell criticized Biden’s recent selection for the high court, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, as a judicial activist who “ruled like a policymaker implementing personal biases.”
“If I’m the majority leader, we’ll be really picky on appointees. There are 1,200 executive branch appointments that come to us. They’re not all as important as the Supreme Court, but many of them are quite important and [need] to be confirmed by the Senate,” McConnell said Monday. “We’re in the personnel business, the House is not.”
McConnell also ruled out passing any other big spending bills along the lines of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, with passed with only Democratic votes last year.
“We won’t be doing any spending bills, but if we can find ways to make some progress for the country during a time of divided government, we’ll do it,” he added.
McConnell suggested last year that he would block any Supreme Court nominee Biden submits to the Senate in 2024 if another vacancy arises in a presidential election year.
“I think in the middle of a presidential election, if you have a Senate of the opposite party of the president, you have to go back to the 1880s to find the last time a vacancy was filled,” McConnell told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt a year ago.
He said the prospect of a Senate GOP majority confirming a liberal nominee to the Supreme Court in a presidential election year with a Democrat in the White House would be “highly unlikely.”