Senate Advances Kirstjen Nielsen's Nomination for DHS Secretary Post

Elias Hubbard
December 6, 2017

Law360, Washington (December 5, 2017, 7:00 PM EST) - The U.S. Senate on Tuesday voted to confirm President Donald Trump's second Homeland Security secretary, despite opponents who cited her lack of management experience.

The Senate approved her nomination 62-37.

Nielsen will be the first cyber professional to head the agency charged with protecting federal civilian networks, leading efforts to coordinate cybersecurity of privately owned critical infrastructure.

"It has been an honor to serve as the Department's Acting Secretary, and I look forward to working alongside Ms. Nielsen as her deputy as we continue to carry out the DHS mission of safeguarding the American people, our homeland, and our values", she said in a statement.

"By confirming Ms. Nielsen's nomination to lead the DHS, this Senate will take a serious step to strengthen our nation's security", Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in a statement.

Ms. Nielsen will replace John F. Kelly, who left in July to become the White House chief of staff. Ms. Nielsen served as Mr. Kelly's chief of staff at the Homeland Security Department, and he brought her along to the White House to be his deputy. Several administration officials say Duke has informed the White House she plans to resign once Nielsen takes over.

Nielsen said at her confirmation hearing last month that climate change is a crucial issue and said the Trump administration is revising its climate models to better respond to rising sea levels. "Throughout her confirmation process, Ms. Nielsen failed to demonstrate that she would provide the steady experienced leadership - free from political interference from the White House - that the department needs". Kamala Harris, D-Calif, who voted against Nielsen's nomination, criticized her stances on immigration and the environment, as well as her experience.

Homeland Security oversees the nation's borders, cybersecurity and response to natural disasters, among other areas.

"I can't unequivocally state it's caused by humans", she said.

"There is no need for a wall from sea to shining sea", Nielsen said.

The decision came three weeks after the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved Nielsen's nomination and almost two months after President Donald Trump selected her for the DHS post.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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