Jeh Johnson Confirmed as Homeland Security Secretary

He will take over a department that is plagued by low morale and leadership vacancies.

Jeh Johnson speaks after he was nominated by US President Barack Obama to be the next Homeland Security secretary during a press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House on October 18, 2013 in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
National Journal
Jordain Carney
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Jordain Carney
Dec. 16, 2013, 1:35 p.m.

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 »
“HOLY HELL TO PAY” IF TRUMP FIRES A.G.
Sen. Graham Supporting Sessions
7 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Sen. Lindsay Graham said he is '100 percent behind' embattled Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and said there would be 'holy hell to pay' if President Donald Trump fires him. Graham also said that if the president went after special prosecutor Robert Mueller, who’s directing the investigation into possible contacts between Trump’s circle and Russia, that could be the 'beginning of the end of the Trump presidency, unless Mueller did something wrong.'"

Source:
AMiDST COMMS STAFF SHAKEUP
Sanders New WH Press Secretary
8 hours ago
THE LATEST

"With little pomp or circumstance, Sarah Huckabee Sanders stepped up to the briefing room podium and got straight to business Friday, reading announcements about "Made in America Week" and a new executive order on defense. Minutes later, newly minted communications director Anthony Scaramucci announced she was formally taking over as White House press secretary. In the aftermath of a chaotic communications staff shakeup at the White House last week, there was little attention paid to a new milestone as Sanders assumed the role."

Source:
JOINT CHIEFS TO KEEP POLICY UNTIL GIVEN DIRECTIONS
No Instructions to Pentagon, No Change in Transgender Policy
9 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"The highest ranking military officer in the country said that the military’s transgender policy won’t actively change until President Trump sends specific directions to the Pentagon. 'There will be no modifications to the current policy until the president’s direction has been received by the secretary of defense and the secretary has issued implementation guidance,' Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford wrote in a letter."

Source:
TO INVICTUS GAMES IN CANADA
FLOTUS First Trip Solo
9 hours ago
THE LATEST
SCARAMUCCI INSINUATED PRIEBUS LEAKED INFO
Two of Trump’s Top Advisors Feuding
10 hours ago
THE LATEST

"A long-simmering feud between two of President Trump’s top advisers reached a boiling point Thursday, as White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci publicly insinuated that chief of staff Reince Priebus is a leaker."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login