President Joe Biden has put collectively one of many nation’s most various group of cupboard secretaries and advisors, however Tennessee’s two U.S. senators haven’t backed most of his picks in affirmation votes.
Since Biden, a Democrat, was inaugurated Jan. 20 after defeating his Republican predecessor Donald Trump, practically two dozen appointments have been confirmed as of Friday. One candidate, Neera Tanden, withdrew to direct the Office of Management and Budget when it grew to become clear the votes weren’t there.
Sen. Bill Hagerty, a former U.S. ambassador to Japan and businessman, has supported extra of the president’s selections than Sen. Marsha Blackburn, who beforehand served within the U.S. House and state Senate.
The votes for two folks in new positions might have particular curiosity on this space due to federal properties: Deb Haaland, the brand new secretary of inside and former New Mexico congresswoman, and Jennifer Granholm, the brand new secretary of vitality and a former two-term Michigan governor.
Haaland, an enrolled member of the Luguna Pueblo tribe, is the primary Native American to grow to be a White House cupboard secretary. The Interior Department operates the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and different companies.
The vote for Haaland on March 15 was 51-40, largely alongside get together strains. Neither Tennessee senator supported her.
Hagerty missed the affirmation vote due to a journey delay however earlier had voted no to cloture, a procedural vote that arrange the affirmation vote.
Judd Deere, a Hagerty spokesman, mentioned the senator opposed Haaland “because her philosophies are not in the best interests of Tennessee.”
“Her extreme stance on fossil fuels, including her support for ending drilling on public lands and prohibiting new pipelines, are already doing significant harm to the United States’ energy independence and raising fuel costs for hardworking Tennesseans,” he mentioned in an electronic mail. “I’d also note that Senator Hagerty serves on the Subcommittee with jurisdiction over funding for the Department of the Interior and represents the most visited National Park in the United States (the Smokies), but Ms. Haaland didn’t bother to reach out to him.”
Granholm’s division has jurisdiction over Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the most important science and vitality lab within the nation. The vote to substantiate her on Feb. 25 was 64-35, with each Tennessee senators voting “nay.”
Cabinet secretaries with duties associated to Mexico border points have been opposed by the state’s senators. This embody Xavier Becerra, the primary Latino to steer Health and Human Services and who has been California legal professional basic. The vote was narrowly authorised 50-49 Thursday. As legal professional basic, he sued the Trump administration dozens of occasions over well being care, the atmosphere and different points.
Hagerty mentioned he voted in opposition to confirming Becerra since he had no healthcare expertise. The Associated Press reported the American Medical and Hospital associations supported him.
“In the midst of a public health crisis, HHS does not need a leader who has prioritized progressive policies, including government-run health care, partial-birth abortion, and decriminalizing illegal immigration,” Hagerty mentioned. “Tennesseans expect to have an HHS Secretary who is prepared on day one to put this pandemic behind us — that person is not Becerra.”
The senators additionally opposed Alejandro Nicholas Mayorkasto be secretary of Homeland Security as a part of 43 “nays” and 56 “yeas” on Feb. 2. Mayorkas beforehand was the deputy secretary of the division and director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
“His open-border agenda and his history of corruption and political favoritism are antithetical to the mission of securing our nation’s borders,” Blackburn mentioned in a press launch. “Mayorkas’ clouded legacy and slanted agenda should not pave the path forward for the American people.”
Both senators additionally voted in opposition to former circuit appeals court docket decide Merrick Garlandas legal professional basic, who was confirmed 70-30.
Isabel Guzman, former director of California’s Office of the Small Business Advocate, was confirmed 81-17 as administrator of the Small Business Administration however didn’t obtain support from the senators. The identical goes for Michael Regan, confirmed 66-34 as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Pete Buttigieg, former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, grew to become the primary overtly homosexual individual to be confirmed to a cupboard publish. When authorised as transportation secretary Feb. 2, Blackburn and Hagerty have been amongst 13 senators opposing the nomination. Eighty-six senators voted in favor.
Miguel Cardonawas confirmed 64-33 as secretary of schooling March 1. Blackburn was recorded as not voting, and Hagerty voted in opposition to the previous commissioner of schooling for Connecticut.
“Mr. Cardona refused to commit during his confirmation hearings to getting all students back to in-person learning, and the White House has yet to lay out a clear plan,” Hagerty mentioned in a press launch. “As our children fall further behind, we need an Education Secretary who is on the side of students and parents, not teachers’ unions. Mr. Cardona supports progressive policies that will further federalize our education system when local control should be the priority.”
Both senators voted with the Senate in unanimously approving Katherine Taias U.S. commerce consultant. She is the primary Asian American in Biden’s cupboard and the primary girl of coloration to carry the commerce consultant publish.
“I believe she has the background and training to continue a pro-American worker, reciprocal trade policy aimed at safeguarding jobs across my state of Tennessee and the entire country,” Hagerty mentioned in a launch. “Ms. Tai understands and appreciates the challenge posed by Communist China, the need to hold them accountable, and to respond with trade enforcement and by making our supply chains more resilient.
“As a former trade counsel, Ms. Tai is committed to prioritizing enforcement of the USMCA (U.S.- Mexico-Canada Agreement) trade deal and working to improve the effectiveness of the World Trade Organization.”
Both Tennessee senators joined an awesome majority in approving Tom Vilsackfor secretary of agriculture and retired Gen. Lloyd Austinfor secretary of protection, making him the primary Black individual to carry the place.
They break up of their support of Tony Blinkenas secretary of state. Hagerty was amongst 78 senators who voted sure, with Blackburn amongst 22 voting no.
The two additionally break up of their support of Janet Yellenas secretary of the treasury. She has grow to be the primary girl to carry the place, regardless of a vote in opposition to her from Blackburn. Hagerty voted sure, releasing an announcement that he talked with many Tennesseans, representatives of the Tennessee Bankers Association and conservative economists, together with Dr. Arthur B. Laffer, earlier than voting.
Hagerty mentioned he supported Yellen, regardless of a number of coverage disagreements, as a result of she brings a long time of monetary markets expertise to the job and would proceed to implement the stimulus package deal launched by the Trump administration.
“She has also rightly acknowledged the need to take on China’s abusive, unfair, and illegal practices, as well as a preparedness to use the Treasury Department’s full array of tools to hold them accountable,” he mentioned.
Campaign button treasures
When Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Sharon Leebought her house in Monroe County and lately moved to Knoxville, she unloaded a bunch of Democrat marketing campaign buttons on her realtor, Cameron Brooks, as a result of she didn’t need to transfer them, she mentioned Thursday.
The marketing campaign paraphernalia features a 1978 license plate to elect Jake Butcheras governor. Butcher helped deliver the World’s Fair to Knoxville after which served time in jail after the collapse of the household banking empire he and brother, C.H. Butcher Jr., constructed.
He misplaced the ’78 election to Republican Lamar Alexander. Both brothers at the moment are deceased.
Brooks, a former Knox County Democratic Party chairman, took the buttons to get together headquarters and left them as a present. Lee mentioned she didn’t know what Brooks did with them till contacted by this columnist to search out out their historical past.
“I gave them to Cameron because I thought he would enjoy them,” she mentioned. “His giving them to the county party means more people can enjoy them.”
Lee’s buttons embody one from her first marketing campaign as a candidate for General Sessions Judge in Monroe County. Her dad and mom, Charles and Judy Lee, have been longtime Democratic officeholders and staff.
“My dad had so many of those buttons made up,” Lee recalled.
Lee mentioned she was about 36 years previous when she ran, had two young children and was the one girl working towards regulation in Monroe County. She misplaced the election by about 150 votes, she mentioned.
The Butcher automobile plates belonged to her uncle, the late legal professional J.D. Lee. She mentioned they have been long-time associates and did enterprise collectively. When Butcher ran for governor, the uncle helped him marketing campaign.
Most of the buttons got here from when her mom attended Democratic Party presidential conventions, with the final one for Barack Obamain 2008.
Knox County Democratic Party Chairman Matt Shearsmentioned he and others will undergo the buttons – plus some donated earlier by long-time get together employee Suzy Coffey– and determine what to maintain and show. They’ll promote the remaining, beginning in April, he mentioned.
“Folks can check our Facebook page for more information at the beginning of April,” Shears mentioned.
The county headquarters, positioned at 311 Morgan St., is open 1-5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Shears might be contacted at email@example.com about making an appointment to see the buttons.
Today’s the day!
Those eager to run for 5 Knoxville City Council seats on this yr’s elections can start choosing up qualifying petitions at this time on the Knox County Election Commission headquarters on the courthouse on Main Street or on the satellite tv for pc workplace, positioned at 109 Lovell Heights Road.
Georgiana Vines is retired News Sentinel affiliate editor. She could also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.