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Senate Places Hold on Biden Personnel Nominee

todayJune 9, 2021

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Senator Josh Hawley placed a hold on the nomination of Kiran Ahuja for Office of Personnel Management, citing her views on critical race theory and abortion.

What We Know:

  • Ahuja is a 49-year-old attorney and a daughter of Indian immigrants. She served in the personnel department under Obama and has since been chief executive of philanthropy for nonprofit Philanthropy Northwest.
  • As head of the Office of Personnel Management, Ahuja would manage the entire federal workforce under the Biden administration. The office has a hand in the content and implementation of diversity and inclusion training. It also runs the largest employer-sponsored health program in the country.
  • Republicans have cited her stance on critical race theory and abortion rights as cause for concern. Critical race theory, recognizing that systemic racism is a part of American society and challenging those systems, has been deemed divisive and false by Republicans. Biden’s reversal of his stance on reproductive rights and the Hyde Amendment, a law that bans federal funding for abortions, has also been causing concern.
  • In Ahuja’s confirmation hearing, Hawley brought her relationship with the professor and activist Dr. Ibram Kendi into question. Her nonprofit hosted him for a speaker series in 2018, and she linked an article by him in a blog post wherein he claimed Trump’s election was an example of white supremacy. Ahuja said she could not speak to the position Kendi made, nor would she make that type of statement.
  • When asked if she considered the United States to be systematically racist, Ahuja responded, “I’m a big believer that we seek to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity. I understand and appreciate the historical challenges many individuals have experienced, based on their race and ethnicity.” Ahuja was also questioned about the Hyde Amendment because Biden supported overturning the legislation. She answered, “The Hyde Amendment is the law of the land, and I will follow the law.”
  • Despite answering all lines of questioning, Ahuja’s nomination has brought an obscure government agency into the center of a political war between Republicans and Democrats. Biden has pledged to rebuild the federal government following Trump. But, his promotion of racial equity and reproductive rights goes against Republican values.
  • Several agencies in charge of government management remain without permanent leadership six months into Biden’s presidency. Max Stier, president and chief executive of Partnership for Public Service, stated that the lack of personnel director is “slowing things down.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is expected to step in and take additional procedural steps to advance Ahuja’s nomination. The hope is to secure her confirmation prior to the Senate’s June recess to avoid further delays within the department.

The post Senate Places Hold on Biden Personnel Nominee appeared first on Black News Alerts.

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todayJune 9, 2021


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