Politics Committee stalls on Biden's choice to lead gun agency

Committee stalls on Biden’s choice to lead gun agency

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Nominated by President Biden to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Guns and Explosives, Steve Dettelbach is speaking during an event at the White House Rose Garden on April 11.

Caroline Castor / AP


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Caroline Castor / AP

Nominated by President Biden to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Guns and Explosives, Steve Dettelbach is speaking during an event at the White House Rose Garden on April 11.

Caroline Castor / AP

The Senate Judiciary Committee, headed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Guns and Explosives, has deadlined Steve Dettelbach’s nomination to 11-11 on party lines.

Democrats can still use the procedural motion to advance nominations to the full Senate, and three leading lawmakers – Joe Munchin of West Virginia, Angus King of Maine and John Tester of Montana – say they support his nomination. Dettelbach will be the first Senate confirmed ATF director in seven years.

Dettalbach, a former U.S. attorney in Ohio during the Obama administration, has the support of the National Sheriff’s Association and the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

President Biden’s first nominee for the ATF post withdrew after leading Senate Democrats expressed doubts about his background.

The recent mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, NY, as well as the fact that guns are the leading cause of death for American children, have increased the pressure on the permanent leader of the main federal agency to control illegal firearms.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, said Thursday that he would ensure that nominations proceed “through this chamber as quickly and expeditiously as possible.”

Senate aides said Detailback could get a vote on the Senate floor next week.

“We need a fully functioning, fully staffed ATF to fulfill the agency’s goal of protecting our communities from gun violence,” Schumer said in a written statement.

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