Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) says she plans to join Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) In opposing nominated for “no diversity” until President Biden agrees to appoint Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) to key executive branch positions.
Because it is important: Lawmakers have lobbied Biden to nominate AAPI to cabinet posts and at the cabinet level since November. The opposition from Hirono and Duckworth could also affect nominations that do not have strong bipartisan support.
- Duckworth, along with Hirono, faced a senior White House official this week over the AAPI’s lack of representation in the administration.
- Its momentum comes after the shootings in Atlanta killed eight people, including six Asian women, and forced the nation to consider violence against Asians.
- With Neera Tanden’s nomination no longer up for grabs, US Trade Representative Katherine Tai is the only AAPI at the cabinet level.
- It appears that the White House is not considering an AAPI candidate to replace Tanden as head of the Office of Management and Budget, according to Duckworth.
What they are saying: “When I asked about AAPI representation … the first words out of the staff’s mouth were, ‘We are so proud of Vice President Harris,’ which is incredibly insulting,” Duckworth said Tuesday, referring to what he said. the deputy chief of the White House. said staff Jen O’Malley Dillon in a meeting first reported by Alayna Treene and Jonathan Swan of Axios.
- “It’s not the first time I’ve heard that,” he added, noting that he has been recommending qualified AAPIs to the White House for six months. They “didn’t even get a phone call,” he said.
- Until he hears a pledge from the White House, whether related to currently open positions as OMB chief or future roles, he said it is a “no vote on the floor for all non-diversity nominees,” including nominees for the sub-cabinet and judicial.
- “I will vote for racial minorities and I will vote for LGBTQ, but I will not vote for anyone else.”
- Considered a trusted White House ally, Duckworth said she has already told the administration that she will vote no on upcoming confirmations for the undersecretary of defense and the undersecretary of defense for policy.
Hirono told reporters later Tuesday: “I joined [Duckworth] to our frustration and disappointment that there is no further representation of the AAPI in Cabinet.
- “We take this very seriously because Joe Biden is committed to having a diverse Cabinet and a diverse White House … That is what we are asking for.”
The panorama: Despite promising to name the “most diverse” cabinet in US history, Biden’s is the first in 20 years without an AAPI cabinet secretary from either executive department.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated with Hirono’s statement.