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Tuesday, November 21, 2017 - 5:13ET

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Senate Committee Approves DHS Secretary Nominee Kirstjen Nielsen


top story photo The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has approved the nomination of Kirstjen Nielsen to be Secretary of Homeland Security. Committee members voted 11-4 to advance Nielsen's nomination to the full Senate.

Nielsen testified before the committee at her confirmation hearing last week, and the committee delayed a scheduled vote on her nomination so that she could respond to nearly 200 questions asked in writing after the hearing.

In her written responses, Nielsen committed to Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) to immediately notify Congress of any changes to the TSA law enforcement officer (LEO) reimbursement program. At the confirmation hearing last week, Sen. Tester criticized a proposal from the Trump Administration to eliminate the LEO reimbursement program.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, asked Nielsen about CBP staffing levels at ports of entry into the United States. Nielsen replied that, if confirmed, she will meet with Acting CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan and other agency leaders "to ensure that CBP is adequately resourced, and if not, determine what additional resources are necessary."

In reply to a written question from Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Nielsen committed to remain vigilant about a series of initiatives started under former TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger to reduce wait times at airport security checkpoints.

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