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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Senate Red Tape Delays ICE Nominee Vitiello Vote

Ronald D. Vitiello, President Trump’s nominee to head the embattled U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, will likely not get a confirmation vote on the Senate floor for at least two months, despite being favorably reported by the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee this week.

According to congressional documents and staffers, the agreement governing Vitiello’s renomination in the 116th Congress specifies it shall be “sequentially referred to the Committee on the Judiciary for not more than 60 calendar days.” That effectively gives the Judiciary committee two months to consider Vitiello’s nomination and means a floor vote before May 10 is extremely unlikely.

The nomination was supported by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on a 7-5 vote. Former Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-Del) joined six of the eight Republicans in voting yes. GOP maverick Rand Paul (R-Ky) joined four of the six Democrats in voting no.

Neither freshman Kirsten Sinema (D-Ariz) nor former Bush 43 official Rob Portman (R-Ohio) attended Monday’s business meeting and neither furnished a proxy, meaning they effectively abstained.

A spokesman for the Senate Judiciary Committee did not respond to questions about how they intended to proceed. But news of the delay will be another blow to Vitiello’s supporters, who have been pushing for his confirmation since he was first nominated Aug. 6 last year. Even though he is acting director, his backers argue that the absence of senate confirmation hamstrings his leadership at a vital moment for the agency as it finds itself in the crucible of partisan fire over the administration’s controversial immigration and border security policies.


Shaun Waterman
Shaun is an award-winning journalist who has worked for the BBC and United Press International. In the past five years, Shaun has launched two of the best-respected and most widely read DC daily cybersecurity newsletters — POLITICO Pro's Morning Cybersecurity and Scoop News Group's CyberScoop. Shaun became UPI's Homeland and National Security Editor shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, covering the Department of Homeland Security from its standup in 2003. His reporting on DHS and counter-terrorism policy earned him two (2005, 2011) "Dateline Washington" awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, and a senior fellowship at the George Washington University Center for Cyber and Homeland Security. In 2009-10 Shaun produced a major report on cybersecurity for critical infrastructure at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a leading Washington think tank. From 2010-2013, he wrote about intelligence, foreign affairs and cybersecurity as a staff reporter for The Washington Times. Shaun, who is British, has a master’s degree in social and political sciences from King’s College, Cambridge. He is married and lives in Washington, DC with his wife and three American sons, Miles, Harry and Peter.

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