President Joe Biden urged the Senate on Wednesday to rapidly confirm his nominee for director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, The Hill reported.
The president’s desire to confirm former federal prosecutor Steven Dettelbach comes following the mass shooting at a Texas elementary school a day earlier, where at least 19 children and two teachers died. Seventeen others were wounded, according to CNN.
“The Senate should confirm him without delay, without excuse,” Biden said of Dettelbach, who later sat for his first confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. “Send the nomination to my desk. It’s time for action.”
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre praised Dettelbach in a statement after the hearing, saying that he “demonstrated today exactly why he has received strong bipartisan support from leading law enforcement groups, mayors, and top former federal prosecutors.”
“After [the ATF director position] being vacant for seven years, it’s never been more important to have a tough, experienced, leader like Steve Dettelbach at the helm of ATF to support the agents risking their lives on the front lines every day to protect the American people,” Jean-Pierre said.
“And as we saw with the tragic shootings in Uvalde and Buffalo – where ATF agents have played a key role in the investigations – and with daily gun violence plaguing too many of our communities, now is the time to provide ATF the leadership it needs to redouble its work to enforce our gun laws and make our communities safer,” she added.
Biden had previously withdrawn his first nominee, David Chipman, after it appeared he would lack the 50 votes required to be confirmed last fall, according to The Hill.