Hawley keeps holds on two nominees who are former McConnell staffers

Hawley keeps holds on two nominees who are former McConnell staffers

Sen. Josh Hawley plans to continue holding two administration nominees — both of whom are former staffers to Mitch McConnell — leaving an anticipated year-end nominations package in limbo.

The Missouri Republican stated his intentions in a letter to the minority leader on Wednesday, as McConnell had helped negotiate the package with the White House. It’s expected to include a number of White-House-picked nominees in exchange for a handful of more conservative nominees favored by Senate Republican leadership.

Hawley has singled out Andrew Ferguson’s nomination to the Federal Trade Commission and Todd Inman’s nomination to the National Transportation Safety Board as his points of concern.

“Two of the nominees you have sought to include in this package need more time for careful evaluation by our own Conference, especially by non-Committee members,” Hawley wrote to McConnell. “If Republicans are planning to install dozens of Biden nominees for positions across the federal government — without a vote — in exchange for just a handful of our own selections, I want to be sure that we get our nominees right.”

Hawley has also cited policy concerns as part of his holds. In his letter, Hawley insisted he’d want to hear more from both of the nominees on issues including big tech, rail safety and autonomous vehicles.

McConnell declined to comment on Hawley’s holds on Wednesday afternoon.

Worth noting: Hawley has not been present at votes this week, as many Republican senators skipped the unexpected additional days of session. It’s unclear to what extent Senate Democratic leadership will tackle the package on the floor before the Senate closes for business this week. Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer has said he plans to finish all Senate business by Wednesday.

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