Published: Thu, December 07, 2017
World | By Melba Underwood

Senate Confirms Kirstjen Nielsen as DHS Secretary

The Senate voted 62 to 37 to confirm Kirstjen Nielsen as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

It is central to executing specific Trump agenda points, including his hardline approach to immigration, establishing a wall along the US-Mexico border and implementing his travel ban, which the Supreme Court decided on Monday to resume.

The department will play a major role in those efforts, as well as in the continued recovery of storm-devastated Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico. As a former DHS chief of staff, Nielsen understands the department's daily operations and is ready to lead on her first day, McConnell said.

She's a protégé of former Marine General John Kelly, who had been DHS secretary until Trump tapped him to be White House chief of staff in July.

Nielsen will take over for Acting Secretary Elaine Duke, and will be sworn-in sometime in the coming days.

Kirstjen Nielsen was confirmed by the Senate to take over as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. They also cited concerns about possible White House interference in a recent DHS decision to send home thousands of Nicaraguans and Haitians long granted USA protection.

"Ms. Nielsen will be charged with leading the department at a critical time", he said. On Tuesday, the Senate confirmed her nomination. During her confirmation hearing, noted the Post, she told senators she learned key lessons about emergency management by having a front-row seat at the much-criticized Bush administration's response to Hurricane Katrina.

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Last month, a watchdog group filed an ethics complaint against Nielsen after she used a private consultant who represents clients with millions of dollars in DHS contracts to help her navigate the confirmation process.

Although several Democrats voted to confirm Nielsen, some expressed concern over the 45-year-old's experience level. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) did not vote.

And in a statement released after the Senate confirmed Nielsen, Sen. Kamala Harris, Calif., cited similar doubts about Nielsen's independence.

Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), who voted against the nomination, cautioned that Nielsen "failed to demonstrate that she would provide the steady, experienced leadership - free from political interference from the White House - that the department needs".

Bannon was ousted from the White House in August amid scrutiny from Kelly.

The Post reported in late August that Trump continued to speak with Bannon by phone behind Kelly's back, and the Wall Street Journal reported this week that the president frequently gives aides assignments that he asks them to keep secret from his chief of staff.

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