US Senate Confirms Two Other Key Biden Cabinet Choices | News from the United States and Canada
Marcia Fudge will head the housing and urban development agency, while Merrick Garland will be the United States attorney general.
The US Senate voted to confirm two more nominees for Joe Biden’s cabinet, as the US president seeks to fill vacancies in his administration and pursue top political priorities, including tackling the COVID-19 crisis .
MK Marcia Fudge has been confirmed as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), giving Biden another cabinet member strongly focused on reducing economic inequalities.
United States Court of Appeals Judge Merrick Garland to serve as United States Attorney General and take over the United States Department of Justice, the main federal law enforcement agency responsible for protecting civil rights.
The Senate voted 66-34 in favor of Fudge’s nomination, with all Democrats and Independents as well as 16 Republicans voting in favor.
Garland, who was barred in 2016 from becoming a U.S. Supreme Court justice, was upheld by a 70-30 vote.
Democrats praised Garland, 68, as a qualified and honorable lawyer who is uniquely qualified to lead the Justice Department after four tumultuous years under former President Donald Trump.
During his confirmation hearing, Fudge, 68, called for more housing assistance to help tens of millions of people who are behind on rent and three million homeowners who are currently forborne or past due on their mortgages due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Shortly after being confirmed – and minutes before stepping down from her congressional post – Fudge took her final House vote in favor of Biden. $ 1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, which would provide billions of housing assistance to low-income households.
The bill includes $ 45 billion to help struggling Americans pay rent, mortgages and utilities, and place the homeless in housing. The government estimates that 12 million people owe an average of $ 5,800 in rent arrears and utilities.
“My first priority as secretary would be to alleviate this crisis and to give people the support they need to get back on board,” Fudge told the Senate Finance Committee.
As secretary of HUD, she would be responsible for distributing much of the COVID-19 housing assistance.
To rebuild better, we must first create a base – to build a foundation for those struggling with housing.
It means making sure people guard their homes during a pandemic and keeping people off the streets. Then we can start adopting programs that improve life. pic.twitter.com/LFWVmP15KF
– Marcia L. Fudge (@mlfudge) December 22, 2020
Republican Senator Pat Toomey has criticized some of Fudge’s past comments about Republicans, saying they could have “a toxic and damaging impact on the working relationship which should be a constructive one” between Congress and the Biden administration.
Last year, Fudge said Republicans determined to replace late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ahead of the November presidential election “are a disgrace to this nation.”
Fudge admitted that she wasn’t always “perfect,” but pledged to work with Republicans as secretary for HUD.
Senate also votes on confirmation of North Carolina regulator Michael regan to lead the Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday night after his appointment authorized a procedural vote earlier today.