The Senate voted Tuesday to confirm Kirstjen Nielsen as the next secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
The vote to appoint the former White House aide was 62 to 37, with several Democrats and independents supporting her nomination to lead DHS.
Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.), Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Mark Warner (D-Va.) were among those who voted alongside their Republican colleagues to confirm the former principal deputy to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly as the new DHS secretary.
Several Democrats expressed concerns over Nielsen’s close relationship with the White House and potential political interference from the administration.
“As our country continues to face ever-evolving threats at home and abroad, it is critical – now more than ever – that we have an experienced and apolitical leader at the Department of Homeland Security to work with us in our efforts to keep New Hampshire and the United States safe, secure, and free,” said Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), who voted against confirming Nielsen. “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.”
House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) offered his support following the Senate’s confirmation vote.
“I look forward to working closely with Kirstjen and the Department to combat the most critical homeland security challenges facing the United States, including securing our borders, defending against cyber threats, enforcing immigration laws, counterterrorism and more. I am confident that Kirstjen’s mission-focused style of leadership will help her succeed in leading the men and women of DHS and ensuring we reform and improve the Department,” said McCaul.
Nielsen will take over for Acting Secretary Elaine Duke, and will be sworn-in sometime in the coming days.