The Senate Thursday advanced the nomination of Chad Wolf to be a policy undersecretary at the Homeland Security Department, a necessary step toward Wolf becoming acting DHS secretary.
The move, a filing of a cloture motion to end debate, means that Wolf‘s nomination could come up for a Senate floor vote Tuesday. Confirming Wolf to the undersecretary post, which he’s held on an acting basis since February, is required under federal vacancy law if Wolf is to succeed Kevin McAleenan as acting secretary.
McAleenan was initially scheduled to leave last week, but he agreed to stay on into next week when it became clear that Wolf couldn’t step immediately into the job. The department has suffered near-constant comings and goings under President Donald Trump, as officials at various levels have been judged insufficiently loyal to Trump’s restrictionist immigration agenda.
Wolf will be the the fifth DHS secretary under Trump, and the third to hold that post on an acting basis, with no expectation of Senate confirmation.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said last week that there is no legal way to name someone acting DHS secretary if that person hasn’t been confirmed in any capacity by the Senate. The White House in recent days spoke to reluctant GOP senators, including Grassley and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), asking them not to oppose Wolf‘s nomination.
Wolf has received some opposition from lawmakers because he was a registered lobbyist for the National Association of Software and Services Companies, which represents Indian and U.S. companies that aim to keep the H-1B visa program for foreign workers with exceptional or unusual skills. Trump named Wolf to the position Friday, briefly creating confusion over who was in charge of DHS.