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A trio of moderate Republican senators has indicated they will vote to approve Joe Biden’s nominations for cabinet posts as long as they are “mainstream,” in comments to Politico released on Friday.
Depending on the outcome of Senate runoff elections in Georgia, Republicans could hold between 50 to 52 seats, potentially retaining their majority. Democrats feared that a Republican-controlled Senate would deny confirmation for Biden’s cabinet picks.
However, Senators Mitt Romney (R., Utah), Susan Collins (R., Maine), and Lisa Murkowski (R., Alaska) all indicated that they would approve nominations for Biden’s cabinet in interviews with Politico. The support of all three would give Democrats a majority of votes to confirm cabinet posts.
“He’s our president-elect. All presidents have a right to their Cabinet,” Murkowski said of Biden. “Our job, our role is to make sure that he selects folks that are…within the mainstream, and are good, qualified, credible candidates. And if he does that, sure, I am going to work with him.”
Collins said she would give “great latitude” to presidents to make their cabinet appointments, while Romney commented that a “president ought to be able to pick his or her Cabinet barring someone who is out of the mainstream of either party.”
If Republicans retain control of the Senate, any floor vote on Biden appointees would have to be approved by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.). Biden would also be far less likely to nominate progressives such as Senator Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) to cabinet posts if Republicans held their majority.
The Georgia Senate runoff elections, scheduled for January 5, pit Republican incumbent David Perdue against progressive Jon Ossoff and Republican appointee Kelly Loeffler against challenger Raphael Warnock.