Schumer: Senate should confirm Biden’s cabinet before Inauguration Day, after GA runoff elections

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said that the U.S. Senate should confirm Joe Biden‘s cabinet nominees before he officially becomes president on January 20, Inauguration Day.

“In the midst of this once-in-a-century crisis, it’s imperative the next administration can count on the Senate to confirm its cabinet without delay,” he said, adding that, thus, “hearings on President-elect Biden’s nominees should begin in January, immediately after the Georgia runoff election.”

In Georgia, there are currently two side-by-side runoff elections for its seats in the U.S. Senate scheduled for January 5. These runoffs will determine which political party will hold a slim majority in the Senate during the next Congress.

If the Democrats secure both of the Peach State’s seats, it will control 50 out of the 100 seats in the Senate and have Vice President-elect Kamala Harris as the tiebreaking vote. Gaining a Democratic majority will be critical in getting Biden’s appointees successfully confirmed.

Schumer went on to say that, after the confirmation hearings, these officials would then be confirmed on January 20.

Furthermore, Schumer supported his call to begin the confirmation process early by saying that Senate committees held hearings for both President Barack Obama‘s and President Donald Trump‘s nominees in early January before they took the oath of office.

This comes as Biden has been announcing his nominees for his cabinet in waves, with each round of nominees focused on a specific policy area. Last week he nominated foreign policy and national security officials and this week he’s focusing on the economy.

Last Tuesday, Biden himself urged the Senate to begin the confirmation process for his nominees.

“I hope these outstanding nominees received a prompt hearing, and that we can work across the aisle in good faith to move forward for the country,” he said. “Let’s begin that work to heal and unite, to heal and unite America as well as the world.”

It was only last Monday that the head of the General Services Administration (GSA), Emily Murphy, signed off on officially commencing the presidential transition, which gives Biden and his team the funds, resources, and information he needs to carry out the transition effectively. President Trump, alleging widespread voter fraud and a “rigged” election, still refuses to concede the election as he continues his onslaught of unsuccessful legal challenges against the election results in multiple states.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.