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Tag: President Biden

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.

Thousands of Border Patrol Agents Face Potential Termination for Refusing COVID-19 Vaccine

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

Thousands of Border Patrol agents face potential termination for refusing to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, at a time when the agency is struggling with staffing. 

Of the roughly 21,000 agents, nearly 4,000 disclosed that they were unvaccinated as of late November 2021, the Washington Examiner reports.

The federal government is requiring all of its employees to be vaccinated. 

A court paused that mandate in January. But in April, another court revived the mandate, putting federal employees at risk of termination. 

“That bar is now lifted, and the federal agencies are now clear to proceed with whatever disciplinary actions they were going to move on with respect to unvaccinated people,” said John J. Michels Jr., counsel for the Federal Practice Group in Washington. 

8 Former ATF Directors and Acting Leaders Endorse Biden’s Pick to Lead the Agency

Former U.S. Attorney Steve Dettelbach

By Steve Neavling

Steven Dettelbach, President Biden’s pick to lead the ATF, has been endorsed by eight former directors and acting leaders as the U.S. Senate prepares to hold confirmation hearings on the nomination. 

The former leaders, who were previously appointed by Republican and Democratic administrations, made the endorsement in a letter obtained by USA Today.

The ATF has been without a permanent leader since ATF Director B. Todd Jones led the agency from 2011 to 2015. 

Jones was among the former directors who endorsed Dettelbach. 

“The single and most logical person to question and to hold accountable both on the policy front and the everyday execution of existing laws would be the Director of ATF,” the officials said. “Without a Director there is no one to hold accountable.”

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

It’s too early to say whether Dettelbach will have an easier time getting confirmed. He 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. 

Chipman came under fire for his support of firearm restrictions, including a ban on assault weapons. He’s also a former adviser at the Giffords, a gun control group. 

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

Biden to Nominate David Pekoske to Another As TSA Administrator

By Steve Neavling

President Biden plans to nominate David Pekoske to serve a second term as administrator of the TSA, the White House said.

Former President Trump first nominated Pekoske in 2017, and his five-year term began in August 2017. 

The agency has more than 600,000 employees and is tasked with security operations at nearly 440 airports nationwide. 

Pekoske also served as acting secretary of Homeland Security from January 20, 2021, to February 2, 2021. 

Before joining the TSA, he was the second in command at the Coast Guard. 

“If confirmed by the Senate for a second five-year term, we will continue to work tirelessly to improve employee recognition and pay, fostering a diverse and inclusive TSA culture, and pursuing innovative approaches to respond to emerging threats,” Pekoske said in a message to TSA employees, The Washington Post reports. “My top priority as Administrator has been and will always be supporting our incredible workforce.”

Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association Endorses Dettelbach to Lead ATF

ATF nominee Steve Dettelbach

By Steve Neavling

Steve Dettelbach, President Biden’s pick to lead the ATF, picked up a key endorsement from the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association. 

The organization, which represents more than 26,000 law enforcement professionals from dozens of agencies, including the ATF, made the endorsement in a letter to senators obtained by NBC News.

In the letter, FLEOA President Larry Cosme said Dettelbach has a “proven history of working with law enforcement agencies, corrections officials, advocates, stakeholders, and elected officials across the political spectrum.”

He added, Dettelbach’s “dedication towards the advancement of public safety initiatives should go a long way towards restoring the public trust.”

Biden nominated Dettelbach, a former Senate-confirmed U.S. attorney, in April. Pro-gun groups immediately opposed the nomination. 

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

The agency has been without a permanent leader since 2015. 

Biden to Pardon First Secret Service Agent to Serve on Presidential Detail

Joe Biden, via Shutterstock.com.

By Steve Neavling

President Biden plans to pardon three people, including the first Secret Service agent to serve on presidential detail. 

Abraham Bolden, 86, is among “three people who have demonstrated their commitment to rehabilitation and are striving every day to give back and contribute to their communities,” Biden said in a statement, NBC News reports.

Bolden, who served on President John F. Kennedy’s detail, was charged with bribery in 1964 after he was accused of trying to sell a copy of a Secret Service file. He was convicted in a second trial after the first one ended in a hung jury.

Key witnesses acknowledged they lied during the second trial, but Bolden was denied a retrial and served several years in federal prison. 

Bolden, of Chicago, has long insisted he is innocent and wrote in a book that he was targeted for blowing the whistle on racist and unprofessional behavior in the Secret Service.

Biden to Replace Acting ATF Director with Top Prosecutor in Arizona

By Steve Neavling

President Biden will pick Gary M. Restaino, the top prosecutor in Arizona, to serve as interim director of the ATF until a permanent one is confirmed, the Associated Press reports.

Biden’s administration is removing the ATF’s acting director, Marvin G. Richardson, who has been accused by gun advocates of cozying up to the gun industry.

Richardson will remain at the agency and advise Restaino, the AP reported.  

The move comes about a week after Biden announced he was nominating Steven Dettelbach, a former U.S. attorney, to serve as the permanent director.

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

Secret Service Agents Are Furious over Former First Dog Major

Secret Service agents are reportedly furious over the White House’s handling of dog bites from President Biden’s first dog, Major. 

The agents are accusing the White House of trying to downplay bite injuries and said leaders in the agency sought to conceal an “excessively detailed” account of Major’s aggressive behavior, the New York Post reports.

Records obtained by Judicial Watch reveal that the bites occurred more than were previously reported. 

For eight consecutive days, Major bit agents, even though White House press secretary Jen Psaki acknowledged only a single biting incident. 

Agents were incensed over Psaki’s spin. 

“NO I didn’t surprise the dog doing my job by being at [redacted] as the press secretary just said! Now I’m pissed,” the agent wrote to a co-worker.

The colleague responded, “SMH. .. hope you didn’t get hurt to [sic] bad.”

In another message, a Secret Service employee said his or her “injury cannot be described in any other term than ‘severe.’”