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GOP Senator Holds Up Confirmation of DHS Nominee

Hawley says Mayorkas wouldn't commit to spending $1.4B on border wall
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 19, 2021 5:02 PM CST

(Newser) – President-elect Joe Biden’s hopes of quick confirmation of his nominee to lead the Department of Homeland Security have been blocked by a Republican senator. Sen. Josh Hawley said Tuesday that he would block a procedural move to bypass full committee consideration of the nomination of Alejandro Mayorkas to lead DHS. The move means the Mayorkas confirmation must go to the full Senate and there’s little chance he can be confirmed as Biden takes office Wednesday, the AP reports. Hawley said he made the move because Mayorkas, in his confirmation hearing, would not commit to spending the $1.4 billion appropriated to expand the border wall with Mexico.

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Biden has said he will halt future construction, and Mayorkas said Tuesday he would have to determine how the law requires DHS to spend the money. Mayorkas noted that when he served as DHS deputy secretary he was told by Border Patrol officials that what was needed is a combination of barriers, additional agents and technology and equipment. "What I heard is we need a diverse approach to border security," he said. Hawley, however, said Mayorkas did not "adequately" explain how he would enforce border security. The decision by the Missouri Republican comes as other senators urge a quick confirmation for a secretary of Homeland Security given threats that include the massive cyberattack on the US government and the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol.

(Read more Alejandro Mayorkas stories.)

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