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Tag: Senate Homeland Security Committee

Mayorkas Moves Closer to Becoming Confirmed Homeland Security Secretary

Alejandro Mayorkas

By Steve Neavling

Alejandro Mayorkas, President Biden’s nomination to lead the Department of Homeland Security, moved closer to taking the helm. 

The Senate Homeland Security Committee on Tuesday advanced his nomination to a full vote in Congress. 

“Our nation is facing historic security challenges right now, from the recent attack on our capital, two major cyber breaches of our federal agencies, and a pandemic that continues to take the lives of thousands of Americans every day,” Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., said, Roll Call reports. “These are serious challenges, and we need steady, qualified and experienced leaders at DHS.”

The panel approved his nomination with a 7-4 vote. Republican Sens. Rob Portman of Ohio and Mitt Romney of Utah joined Democrats in supporting the nomination. Last week, Sen. Josh Hawley, a Missouri Republican, blocked the fast-track confirmation process for Mayorkas, potentially dashing Biden’s hopes for a quick confirmation.

Portman said it’s important to have a confirmed Homeland Security secretary to address numerous potential threats facing the nation. 

“We’ve got the massive cyber security attack that we aren’t talking about much because it seems like everything else has become more important, but that probably is the most significant national security threat we’ve had in this country in years,” Portman said. 

Mayorkas, 61, is poised to become the first immigrant and Hispanic to lead the department. 

Mayorkas served as deputy homeland security secretary from 2013 to 2016 under President Obama. A former U.S. attorney in California, Mayorkas also served as director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services during Obama’s first term.  

Born in Cuba, Mayorkas and her family arrived as refugees in the 1960s, settling in Southern California. His mother was a Holocaust survivor. Mayorkas graduated from the University of California-Berkeley and earned a law degree from Loyola Law School. 

Wray Returns to the Hot Seat a Week After Drawing Criticism from President Trump

FBI Director Christopher Wray testifying before the House Judiciary Committee in February.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A week after President Trump criticized his FBI director for his testimony before a House committee, Christopher Wray will be back in the hot seat today.

This time, Wray is set to testify before the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

Wray’s testimony before the House Homeland Security Committee drew criticism from Trump, who suggested he may consider replacing his director after he testified that Russia was interfering in the presidential election. Wray told lawmakers that Russia was trying to “denigrate” Biden by using social media to spread propaganda.

“I did not like his answers,” Trump said last week. “I’m not sure he liked them either. I’m sure he probably would agree with me.”

When asked if he may replace Wray, Trump responded, “We’re looking at a lot of different things.”

Janet Napolitano’s Job at Department of Homeland Security Is Not Only High-Ranking Post Available

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Janet Napolitano’s job as head of the Department of Homeland Security is not the only high-ranking position available there, NPR reports.

According to the NPR, 15 top jobs at DHS are vacant or about to be, and lawmakers won’t fill the jobs.

The openings raise questions about whether DHS is too large and unwieldy.

“Customs and border protection — the role of commissioner for that has been vacant [and] filled by acting people for … nearly a year and a half,” says Christian Beckner, deputy director of George Washington University’s Homeland Security Institute.

And surprise, surprise. There’s bipartisan agreement.

“It is a bad situation,” says Democratic Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware, who chairs the Senate homeland security committee. “I call it executive branch Swiss cheese. And it’s not that the people in these acting positions are inept or bad people, but there’s a special stature that comes by Senate confirmation.”

Congressional Hearings to Probe Boston Marathon Bombing And Federal Response to Attack

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The first congressional hearings begins next in the case of the Boston Marathon bombing, the National Journal reports.

The House Homeland Security plans to examine the attack and federal law enforcement response. 

Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said the investigation also focuses on the potential security breakdown among agencies, the National Journal wrote.

The Senate also is investigating.

“It is critical that we conduct a proper examination of the actions of the federal government, including the Department of Homeland Security, and its interactions with state and local government partners, so that we as a nation are better able to anticipate, prevent, or if necessary respond to, the next terrorist threat,” the Senate Homeland Security Committee leaders said in a statement.