President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team on Wednesday made a public plea for swift hearings and confirmations for his national security picks, saying such action is critical in light of ongoing threats of violence around the inauguration next week.
Security is already being enhanced, with plans for more than 20,000 National Guard members to be stationed in Washington, D.C., ahead of the inauguration. The significant measures are being taken after pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol last week, disrupting the certification of Biden’s Electoral College win.
Lawmakers were briefed privately this week on new security threats, as House Democrats were advised of violent plots against members of Congress.
Biden will be getting briefed daily to make sure that the “transition unfolds smoothly,” the statement from Biden’s team said, as well as “engaging with the current administration to gain as much information as possible on the threat picture.”
“The incoming team is also focused on laying the groundwork for a smooth handoff in power that will ensure continuous command and control across the homeland security and law enforcement components of the U.S. government,” the transition said in the statement. “This is why it is critical that President-elect Biden’s national security nominees receive swift hearings and confirmations.”
Biden’s team has pushed to fill positions quickly so that there won’t be a void in national security between the Biden and Trump administrations, a person familiar with the strategy previously told POLITICO.
The top priority, the source said, was confirming Secretary of Homeland Security nominee Alejandro Mayorkas. His confirmation has been scheduled for Tuesday, the day before Biden’s inauguration, according to a release from the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
“The transition of power from one administration to another is a touchstone of American democracy,” the transition’s statement said. “The President-elect and Vice President-elect are focused on safeguarding the security of the American people, our institutions, and our democratic values.”
House Democrats have said that some of their Republican colleagues have feared threats if they voted to impeach President Donald Trump.
But some Democrats have pushed back on the notion that such threats should prevent them from going on the record against the president.
“I get it, but some of us just spent the last 2 years taking stances that have led to repeated attempts on our lives — for demanding guaranteed healthcare, immigrant justice, etc,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) wrote in a tweet Wednesday afternoon. “Sorry if this lacks empathy, but it’s a privilege if this is their first time. They can do one vote.”
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