Sen. Tammy Duckworth, Illinois Democrat, said Tuesday she’s informed the White House she plans to vote against President Biden’s forthcoming “non-diversity” nominees to protest a lack of members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community in Mr. Biden’s Cabinet.
Ms. Duckworth said she’s given them plenty of qualified AAPI nominee candidates who aren’t getting serious consideration.
“They can call me and tell me what their proposal is,” Ms. Duckworth said. “But until then, I am a no vote on the floor on all non-diversity nominees. … I will vote for racial minorities and I will vote for LGBTQ, but anybody else I’m not voting for.”
Every vote is crucial in the 50-50 Senate, though many of Mr. Biden’s picks have been confirmed by relatively comfortable margins.
Ms. Duckworth said she’s heard multiple times that the AAPI community can boast about Vice President Kamala Harris, whose mother is from India and whose father is from Jamaica.
“And that is not something you would say to the Black caucus: well you have Kamala, we’re not going to put any more African Americans in the Cabinet because you have Kamala,” she said. “Why would you say it to AAPI?”
The Senate has confirmed Katherine Tai, who is Asian-American, as Mr. Biden’s U.S. trade Representative and appears on track to confirm Dr. Vivek Murthy, who is Indian-American, as U.S. surgeon general.
The White House had to nix the nomination of Neera Tanden, who is Indian-American, to lead the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) after members of both parties raised concerns about Ms. Tanden’s past attacks on lawmakers.
The Senate on Tuesday voted 63-37 to confirm Shalanda Young as deputy OMB director. Ms. Young, who is Black, is expected to serve as acting director until Mr. Biden announces a new pick for a permanent director.
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