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Biden’s Nominee to Head ATF Expected to Advance After Split Senate Panel Vote

Former U.S. Attorney Steve Dettelbach

By Steve Neavling

A Senate committee on Thursday was deadlocked on whether to advance President Biden’s pick to lead the ATF.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 11-11 along party lines. 

Democrats will have a chance to advance Steven Dettelbach to the floor with a procedural maneuver.  

The ATF has been without a Senate-confirmed leader since 2015. 

“Gun violence continues to plague this country and I believe that it’s critical that ATF has a strong, Senate-confirmed leader in place to ensure the agency is able to achieve its mission of protecting our communities from both violent criminals as well as the illegal use of firearms,” Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., said during the hearing.  

Biden’s first pick to lead the ATF, David Chipman, couldn’t get enough votes in the Senate for confirmation last year. 

Dettelbach was confirmed by the Senate to serve as attorney for the U.S. District Court in Northern Ohio, a position he held from 2009 to 2016.

Dettelbach has advocated for reinstating the assault weapons ban and universal background checks on firearms purchases.

Dettelbach, who ran an unsuccessful campaign to serve as attorney general in Ohio in 2018, has been working in the private sector for BakerHostetler.


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