“I’m going to support him,” said Manchin. “I feel confident he’ll be able to lead this extremely important (agency) and protect the people who are on the front lines, and these agents need leadership and they need someone who understands what they do and how vital their services are to our country.” (RELATED: Manchin Supports Raising Age Limit on Guns, Open to Assault Weapons Ban)
Manchin’s declaration all but guarantees that Dettelbach will be confirmed to the post, following his unconventional hearing two weeks ago.
With Manchin’s support, Democrats almost certainly have at least 50 votes to confirm Dettelbach. Even if they don’t win over a single Republican, Vice President Kamala Harris will be able to cast a tie-breaking vote. (RELATED: Joe Manchin Comes Out in Support of Ketanji Brown Jackson)
As CNN reports:
The decision means the White House likely won’t suffer another embarrassment in its efforts to fill the post, after it withdrew the nomination of David Chipman to lead the bureau last September. Chipman had faced stiff resistance among moderate Democrats and King — as well as GOP senators — over his past record on gun control. King is an independent senator who caucses with Democrats.
This time around, some Democrats had referenced the Texas elementary school shooting as well as a recent mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, to argue the necessity of quickly confirming a new ATF director.
“We cannot afford to keep saying some day in the future, somehow we will take action, I think the least we could do is deliver a Senate-confirmed leader for the ATF,” Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware said last month.
A former federal prosecutor, Dettelbach was previously unanimously confirmed by the Senate to serve as the US attorney for the Northern District of Ohio under President Barack Obama.
The Senate last confirmed an ATF nominee in 2013, in large part to the effectiveness of gun rights groups.