Sinking Biden nominees is avenue for GOP oversight in Senate: Schmitt

Eric Schmitt
Republican Eric Schmitt, candidate for U.S. Senate, delivers a victory speech, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Maryland Heights, Mo. Schmitt defeated Democratic challenger Trudy Busch Valentine. Jeff Roberson/AP

Sinking Biden nominees is avenue for GOP oversight in Senate: Schmitt

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Freshman Sen. Eric Schmitt (R-MO), who campaigned on conducting oversight of the Biden administration, said the GOP has managed to make good on that promise in the minority by scuttling President Joe Biden‘s nominees.

The Senate Commerce Committee, on which Schmitt serves, abruptly delayed a vote scheduled for Wednesday to consider Biden’s pick to lead the Federal Aviation Administration, Phil Washington. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), the committee chairwoman, announced the vote is “moving to a future date pending information that members have been seeking.”


Schmitt said Washington, the current CEO of Denver International Airport, is in more peril than Democrats want to admit. Republicans have strongly resisted his nomination over possible legal entanglements and his lack of experience in the aviation sector, with Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) now reportedly raising doubts.

Schmitt also pointed to Gigi Sohn, Biden’s long-stalled nominee for the Federal Communications Commission, who recently withdrew her nomination to fill the fifth seat on the commission as another example of GOP success without the gavel.

“Just look at the Commerce Committee, for example — Gigi Sohn was a terrible pick to be an FCC commissioner. We were able to kind of conduct that sort of oversight, ask tough questions, and she’s not moving forward,” Schmitt said in an interview Wednesday with the Washington Examiner. “Look at Phil Washington. I do not support his nomination. I don’t think he’s qualified, and I think it looks like his nomination is in trouble.”

Republicans have been successful in their strategy of asking tough questions during committee hearings and convincing centrists to join them in resisting certain nominees, Schmitt said.


Biden has several candidates who could face a turbulent confirmation process — including Michael Delaney, nominated for the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Some Democrats and outside groups raised concern over his signature on a legal brief defending a parental notification law regarding abortion in New Hampshire. There are also questions about Biden’s pick for labor secretary, Julie Su, and whether she could face a tough confirmation because of her more progressive record.

“If you’re examining the right sort of things and conducting oversight, people are persuadable on these things, especially on the nomination front,” Schmitt said. “That is how we are getting the oversight work done.”

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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