Mounting confirmation battle sends warning sign to Biden
February 23, 2021 at 07:47
And the policy clashes clouding the confirmation hopes of candidates such as Haaland and Tanden are quite predictable, since they mirror the chasms between the parties.
For now, the problem concerns individual Cabinet nominees -- whose defeat would sting for Biden and dent the bodywork of his governing machine.
During her confirmation hearing, Tanden had to apologize for what Sanders complained were her "vicious" attacks on progressives.
Given her always-questionable prospects, there was not much incentive for a senator such as Manchin to support her.
So to safeguard his brand as a relatively independent voice, and to avoid being tarred as a rubber stamp for Biden, Manchin probably needed to make a stand somewhere.
He explained that he could not support Tanden because she represented the kind of divisive politics that Biden wants to purge from Washington.
And guess who could be the key Senate voice on the panel and in the full Senate on Haaland's prospects?
"We're very open to hearing her, and hopefully she'll have a good hearing," Manchin, a longtime supporter of fossil fuel industries in his home state, said Monday.
It's likely Tuesday's hearing will turn into a preview of the bitter partisan battles likely to unfold when Biden sends a climate bill to Capitol Hill.
The pick who waited longest to get a confirmation hearing -- nearly five years, to be exact -- is attorney general nominee Merrick Garland .
Ironically, the reputation for moderation and steady temperament that Obama thought might ease Garland's way through a Republican-led Senate to the high court helped him on Monday in his confirmation hearing.
Arch-Trump supporter Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said Monday that he would "most likely" support the nomination.