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
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 »
DEFENSE AND LABOR-HHS TO BE COMBINED
Senate Turns to Approps This Week
8 hours ago
THE LATEST

"As the August session continues, senators will turn their attention in earnest to a measure that combines two spending bills covering appropriations for four Cabinet departments, led by the Department of Defense. ... The combined Senate bill includes the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education appropriations package, as well. That bill is traditionally among the most difficult to get across the Senate floor because of predictable partisan debates about social policy issues."

Source:
INTENDS TO PROTECT OTHER OFFICIALS
Brennan May Sue Trump Over Clearance
8 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Former CIA director John O. Brennan said Sunday that he is willing to take President Trump to court to prevent other current and former officials from having their security clearances revoked, escalating a battle over whether the president is misusing the power of his office to retaliate against opponents."

Source:
REACTION TO REVOCATION OF BRENNAN'S CLEARANCE
175 Former NatSec Officials Now Sign Letter Rebuking Trump
8 hours ago
THE LATEST

The national-security protest letter-writing campaign continues, with 175 former top U.S. officials rebuking President Donald Trump for stripping former CIA chief John Brennan of his security clearance last week.

Source:
SERVED 16 YEARS IN THE HOUSE
Former. Rep. Leonard Boswell Dies at 84
8 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Former Rep. Leonard Boswell (D-IA) died Friday at age 84; he “was hospitalized for complications from a form of cancer known as pseudomyxoma peritonei.” Boswell served in the House from 1997-2013, losing to now-former Rep. Tom Latham (R).

Source:
"A CASE ABOUT LIES"
Manafort Case Moves to Closing Arguments
5 days ago
THE LATEST
×
×

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