‘It’s not going to be a garden party’: GOP senator suggests that the confirmation process for Biden’s Cabinet nominees won’t be easy

John Barrasso
Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyoming).

  • GOP Sen. John Barrasso on Sunday said that Cabinet nominees brought forward by President-elect Joe Biden in a Republican-controlled Senate should not expect an easy pathway to confirmation, according to Politico.
  • “It’s not going to be a garden party,” he said. “If the Republicans are in the majority, these nominees are going to have to run the gauntlet.”
  • Barrasso compared Biden’s nominees to former President Barack Obama’s Cabinet, saying that the selections resembled a “third term of the Obama administration.”
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Sen. John Barrasso on Sunday said that Cabinet nominees brought forward by President-elect Joe Biden in a Republican-controlled Senate should not expect an easy pathway to confirmation, emphasizing that the party would make nominees “run the gauntlet,” according to Politico.

The Wyoming Republican and chair of the Senate Republican Conference claimed that President Donald Trump’s nominees were slow-walked compared to previous administrations and stressed that party members “are not going to forget what happened with President Trump’s administration and the delayed process that went through it.”

He added: “So, it’s not going to be a garden party. If the Republicans are in the majority, these nominees are going to have to run the gauntlet.”

While many of Biden’s nominees are expected to receive bipartisan support, including Secretary of State-designate Antony Blinken and former Agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack, others, including Neera Tanden, the nominee to run the White House Office of Management and Budget, and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who has been tapped to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, will meet some GOP resistance.

Barrasso compared Biden’s nominees to former President Barack Obama’s Cabinet, saying that the selections resembled a “third term of the Obama administration.”

He then stated that former two-term Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Biden’s nominee to lead the Department of Energy, would present some issues for him due to past comments that she’s made regarding fossil fuels. As governor of the Midwestern state from 2003 to 2011, she worked with Obama and Biden in overseeing the auto industry bailout during the Great Recession.

Granholm would have a hand in carrying out Biden’s proposed climate policy as part of her role as Energy Secretary. That $2 trillion proposal includes moving the country to a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035, and investing heavily in infrastructure and the auto industry.

If Republicans capture the two Senate seats in the January 2021 Georgia runoff elections, they’ll have 52 seats in the upper chamber, and therefore secure the majority. In such a scenario, Barrasso would be set to lead the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which would take up Granholm’s nomination. However, if Democrats win both seats, they’ll have the majority, and Biden will be able to move his nominees through with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’s tie-breaking vote.

“If you want accountability and not just a rubber stamp for a Joe Biden Cabinet, you need to have people like me as chairman of the Energy Committee,” he said. “You bet, I’m going to ask tough questions.”

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