Jan. 28 (UPI) -- The Senate on Thursday advanced the nomination of Alejandro Mayorkas to serve as President Joe Biden's secretary of Homeland Security after voting to break a GOP filibuster.
Lawmakers voted 55-42 to break the filibuster placing a final vote on Mayorkas' confirmation on track for 5:30 p.m. on Monday, with Republican Sens. Mitt Romney, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Rob Portman and Shelley Moore Capito breaking party lines to vote in favor of moving the process along.
Mayorkas is the first of Biden's Cabinet selections to face a filibuster as Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, led a group of GOP senators in calling for an additional hearing before the Senate judiciary committee after the Senate Homeland Security committee voted to move his nomination to the floor on Tuesday.
"The committee on the judiciary has jurisdiction over matters relating to immigration and nationality ... For this reason, all members of the committee should have the opportunity to hear from Mr. Mayorkas directly and to publicly discuss with him his plans with respect to the department's immigration components and functions," the senators said in a letter.
Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., questioned why a second hearing would be necessary, calling the request "totally political."
"This is indefensible. We are withholding the leadership of the Department of Homeland Security," said Durbin.
If confirmed, Mayorkas would become the first immigrant and first Latino to lead the department as well as the first Senate-confirmed leader since former Secretary Kristjen Nielsen was ousted in 2019.