Those named to the “Senate Obstructionist Hall of Shame” not only voted against most — if not all — of President Biden’s slate of qualified Cabinet nominees, but also worked to actively obstruct the confirmation process
Amid a global pandemic, unprecedented unemployment and poverty, and rising national and cyber security threats, these senators slowed down the confirmation of top health and national security roles
The only Senator to have voted against every single Cabinet secretary, Josh Hawley (R-MO), takes the top spot in the “Senate Obstructionist Hall of Shame,” with Senators Ted Cruz, Rick Scott, Tom Cotton, Rand Paul, John Barrasso, and Steve Daines following
Accountable Senate War Room: “Senate Republicans failed to sink a single Cabinet nominee, and are left with little to show for months of obstruction. More importantly, the American people saw right through these bad-faith efforts to the truth: Republican senators care more about their special interest donors’ bottom line than the American people.”
Washington, D.C. – Today, Accountable Senate War Room unveiled the “Senate Obstructionist Hall of Shame” to call out the top Republican senators who, for months, delayed and obstructed President Biden’s Cabinet nominees from being confirmed. Although their efforts ultimately failed with Biden’s Cabinet on the verge of being fully-formed, these senators should be held accountable for their bad-faith tactics and called out for prioritizing special interest donors over American workers and families.
“From early on, Republican senators made it clear that they were going to do everything in their power to prevent the new administration from getting to work, even if that meant breaking with the long-standing tradition of ensuring the new administration’s Cabinet is swiftly confirmed,” said Mairead Lynn, spokesperson for Accountable Senate War Room. “Senate Republicans failed to sink a single Cabinet nominee, and are left with little to show for months of obstruction. More importantly, the American people saw right through these bad-faith efforts to the truth: Republican senators care more about their special interest donors’ bottom line than the American people.”
Members of the “Senate Obstructionist Hall of Shame” include:
- Senator Josh Hawley: Hawley made a household name for himself after attempting to overthrow a democratically-held election when his preferred candidate didn’t win, helping incite a violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol that left five dead. The obstruction didn’t stop there: Hawley would go on to vote against 19 of Biden’s Cabinet level nominees, and was at the center of efforts to prevent a quick confirmation of Alejandro Mayorkas for Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) — the department responsible for stopping future insurrectionist attacks against our country.
- Senator Ted Cruz: Cruz joined his colleague in spreading false information regarding the 2020 election that helped incite the violent insurrection, and still voted to overturn a democratically-held election to appease his right-wing base. He continued obstructing President Biden’s Cabinet by voting against 18 of Biden’s qualified nominees, most notably Alejandro Mayorkas and Xavier Becerra. Cruz stood behind Trump’s unqualified and conflicted nominees, but drew the line at Biden’s slate of change-making nominees who would hold his special interest allies accountable.
- Senator Rick Scott: Another key Senator who helped incite the insurrection, Scott’s obstruction didn’t stop there. He was one of the senators who, from the beginning, hinted at what was to come, refusing to answer whether Biden’s Cabinet picks deserved floor votes in the Senate. He voted against 18 of Biden’s crisis-tested nominees, and took special aim at Neera Tanden, whom he called a “terrible choice” and a “big-government, big-spending radical liberal.” Accountable Senate War Room discovered a disturbing trend: Republican senators tended to use harsher language when referring to President Biden’s nominees of color, often painting them as extreme and “radical.”
- Senator Tom Cotton: Cotton came out swinging against Biden’s Cabinet before Inauguration Day, giving a glimpse into what was to come from him and his colleagues. He voted against 17 of Biden’s nominees, taking particular aim at Xavier Becerra for secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). Cotton called on his fellow senators to join him in opposing the nominee in a letter — an offer they did not take him up on — and even used his own campaign funds to launch false and misleading attack ads against Becerra. These efforts failed as Becerra was confirmed with bipartisan support.
- Senator Rand Paul: Paul voted against 14 of Biden’s qualified and crisis-tested nominees. Early on, Paul took aim at Xavier Becerra in a slew of false and misleading attacks against the nominee’s personal political beliefs, using Fox News to propagate these lies and COVID-19 conspiracy theories. He was also particularly disrespectful to Rachel Levine, the nominee for under secretary of HHS and the first transgender person nominated to serve in a presidential Cabinet, in a slew of false and “harmful misinterpretations” against the transgender community.
- Senator John Barrasso: Voting against 12 of Biden’s nominees, Barrasso couldn’t even stay true to his own words from just four years ago when he said “the President coming in for his first term ought to be able to have the Cabinet. He won the election. He ought to have who he wants surrounding him.” Barrasso’s change of heart was immediate, as one of the first senators to promise a tough confirmation battle. Most notably, Barrasso took aim at Deb Haaland, Biden’s nominee for Interior secretary, whose confirmation he worked to sink both leading up to and during her hearings. Referring to her as “radical” on more than one occasion, Barrasso’s disdain for Haaland was not well hidden, even getting aggressive with her during her confirmation hearing in a line of questioning that garnered national attention.
- Senator Steve Daines: Daines voted against 11 of Biden’s nominees and took a similar interest in sinking Deb Haaland’s confirmation for Interior secretary. Before a hearing was even scheduled, Daines’ opposition to Haaland was fierce. He opposed the nominee in a statement where he referred to her as “radical” – deemed a racist, sexist “dog-whistle” by the Billings Gazette Editorial Board – and threatened to block her confirmation. During her hearing, he was equally hostile and condescending, using his time to air personal grievances from past comments Haaland had made about him and his colleagues.
Learn more about these senators’ obstruction and what the Senate War Room did to hold them accountable here.