(Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden’s nomination of Colin Kahl to be the Pentagon’s top policy adviser ran into a roadblock on Tuesday when two Democratic senators said they would not back him until the president committed to a more diverse cabinet.
Senator Tammy Duckworth told reporters she would vote no until until the Biden administration made such appointments or committed to naming an Asian-American Pacific Islander (AAPI) candidate to a cabinet position.
“They can call me and tell me what the proposal is (for such nominations),” Duckworth, who is Thai American, said. “But until then, I am a no vote on the floor, on all non-diversity nominees.”
A second Democrat, Senator Mazie Hirono, also said she would not back Kahl in the full Senate without a commitment on diversity from Biden. However, she said she would vote to advance his nomination to the full Senate when the Armed Services Committee meets. The panel is expected to meet on Wednesday.
Kahl, who served as national security adviser to Biden when he was vice president, is a prime target of Republicans aiming to torpedo several Biden picks over their social media activity.
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Critics accused Kahl of making comments on Twitter that were too partisan.
Neera Tanden withdrew from consideration this month as Biden’s nominee for Office of Management and Budget director after criticism over previous social media posts. She would have been the first Indian-American woman in the position.
Democrats have repudiated such concerns from Republicans, noting party members’ loyalty to Trump, who used his Twitter feed to insult political opponents.
However, with the Senate evenly divided and Vice President Kamala Harris able to break a tie, any nominee would need the support of every Democrat to be confirmed.
ARTICLE SOURCE: thefederalistpapers.org