The Department of Homeland Security has a new Secretary Monday, after the Senate voted 78 to 16 to confirm Jeh Johnson.
The vote on the former Pentagon lawyer marks the end of widely expected confirmation, which was made almost inevitable by Majority Leader Harry Reid’s decision to go nuclear last month.
Twenty-three Republicans voted for Johnson’s nomination.
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who voted against him, railed against Reid’s decision on Tuesday morning before the Senate took up a slate of nominees. The Kentucky Republican called it a “grave mistake” and tied it to what he believes is a larger narrative of the Obama administration and Democrats not playing by the rules.
“This vote isn’t about any one nominee”¦ It’s about an attitude on the left that says the ends justify the means,” he said, before the Senate voted on the first nomination.
Johnson received bipartisan support, though possible holds by Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona, and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, at times threatened his path to confirmation. Graham’s hold wasn’t specific to Johnson but against all nominees in an attempt to get survivors of the Benghazi terrorist attack to testify before members of Congress.
McCain battled with Johnson during his confirmation hearing last month over a request for information on border security. The Arizona Republican told the Associated Press that the nominee “refused to tell me that he would give me the information as to what is necessary to have 90 percent effective control of our border.”
But Johnson was passed out of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee by a voice vote, with McCain and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., being added to the record as no votes.
He received bipartisan praise during the committee’s vote, with Sen. Tom Coburn, the committee’s ranking member, noting that while he thinks the Homeland Security Department is dysfunctional, he considers Johnson an “open and honest broker.”
Johnson is taking over an agency with a wide array of at times disjointed missions that has had to deal with low morale and holes in its leadership team.
He previously worked in the Pentagon helping develop some of country’s top counterterrorism policies. He is replacing Janet Napolitano, who stepped down in September to become the first female president of the University of California. Rand Beers has stepped in as the acting secretary since then.
What We're Following See More »
Perhaps Donald Trump can take a plebiscite to solve this whole messy immigration thing. At a Fox News town hall with Sean Hannity last night, Trump essentially admitted he's "stumped," turning to the audience and asking: “Can we go through a process or do you think they have to get out? Tell me, I mean, I don’t know, you tell me.”
Donald Trump "nearly quintupled the monthly rent his presidential campaign pays for its headquarters at Trump Tower to $169,758 in July, when he was raising funds from donors, compared with March, when he was self-funding his campaign." A campaign spokesman "said the increased office space was needed to accommodate an anticipated increase in employees," but the campaign's paid staff has actually dipped by about 25 since March. The campaign has also paid his golf courses and restaurants about $260,000 since mid-May.
Donald Trump probably isn't taking seriously John Oliver's suggestion that he quit the race. But he has canceled or rescheduled rallies amid questions over his stance on immigration. Trump rescheduled a speech on the topic that he was set to give later this week. Plus, he's also nixed planned rallies in Oregon and Las Vegas this month.
Donald Trump's Fox News brain trust keeps growing. After it was revealed that former Fox chief Roger Ailes is informally advising Trump on debate preparation, host Sean Hannity admitted over the weekend that he's also advising Trump on "strategy and messaging." He told the New York Times: “I’m not hiding the fact that I want Donald Trump to be the next president of the United States. I never claimed to be a journalist.”