The Democrats hold a 51-seat majority in the Senate, but it does not imply that Joe Biden’s choices for federal offices and the federal judiciary are automatically approved. Lately, there have been several high-profile, embarrassing withdrawals by nominees for various reasons.
Some were even too extreme for Democrats, and some have been embarrassingly unqualified. The weird thing about these withdrawals is that Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer and the White House are blaming Republicans for the failures of their nominations.
Phil Washington, the most recent nominee to fill the vacant FAA administrator position, was forced to withdraw after some Democrats pointed out that Washington, a former military officer and CEO of the Denver International Airport, required a waiver from the Defense Department to serve as FAA administrator. Notwithstanding what the statute clearly states, Washington said he did not.
In addition to the humiliating waiver issue, Washington had no flying experience. Sen. Krysten Sinema (I-AZ) alluded to this gap in Washington’s resume. She urged the administration to select a permanent FAA administrator with considerable aviation safety experience and knowledge.
The Commerce Committee has also been a thorn in Biden’s side.
According to Politico, the Commerce Committee has given Biden’s candidates a particularly tough ride. Gigi Sohn, who Biden had twice nominated for a post on the FCC, resigned earlier this month. This is in addition to numerous other difficult confirmation battles that have consumed the early days of this Congress.
Sohn was a political hack who tweeted insults and vitriol directed toward Republicans. Amen to her departure. Yet not all of Biden’s judicial selections are winning unanimous support.
The nomination of Julie Su to lead the Labor Department is anticipated to occupy the majority of the Republican Party’s attention in the coming weeks; she received no Republican support in the 2021 vote to confirm her as deputy Labor Secretary and moderate Democrats will face pressure to oppose her even though she received Democratic support at the time.
Julie Su served as California’s labor secretary when $32 billion in COVID-19 unemployment fraud occurred before her confirmation as labor undersecretary. This may be too much for many Democrats.
In addition, judicial candidate Michael Delaney is in limbo on the Judiciary Committee owing to absences. His nomination may not have the necessary votes for Biden’s choice for the First Circuit Court of Appeals. F Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) has stated that he cannot consider nominations because Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) is absent. He advised that a tie vote is a vote against the committee.
Then there is Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Alabama), who has blocked fast confirmation and promotion of Pentagon nominees after the Defense Department implemented policies that would make abortion and other reproductive care more accessible to troops.
Biden’s failure to place the individuals he desires in government or on the bench demonstrates his inherent weakness. Biden’s inability to secure approvals for nominees from the second tier might come back to haunt him.