Moderate Dems silent as Biden skirts Senate confirmation for John Kerry's replacement

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Moderate Senate Democrats were silent this week erstwhile Fox News Digital asked for a remark connected President Biden's determination to appoint ambiance czar John Kerry's replacement without Senate confirmation.

In an announcement precocious past month, White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Kerry would soon measurement down from his domiciled astatine nan State Department and that clean power czar John Podesta would "continue to lead our world ambiance efforts" successful a caller domiciled helping nan world modulation to greenish energy. But nan White House said Podesta would return connected nan domiciled of elder advisor to nan president for world ambiance policy.

While Kerry will measurement down arsenic typical statesmanlike envoy for ambiance (SPEC), Biden will not nominate a nonstop replacement, and Kerry's unit will study to different State Department charismatic while Podesta coordinates argumentation pinch nan SPEC agency from nan White House. The statement allows Podesta to sidestep a congressionally mandated Senate confirmation since nan SPEC domiciled will technically beryllium near vacant.

"Upon Secretary Kerry’s departure, nan existing SPEC authorities squad will study to Rich Verma, nan lawman caput of authorities for guidance and resources," a White House charismatic told Fox News Digital. "John will proceed to oversee nan White House Office of Clean Energy Innovation and Implementation while moving intimately pinch nan State Department."

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Shortly aft taking agency successful 2021, Biden appointed Kerry to beryllium nan first-ever SPEC, a domiciled that granted him a spot successful nan president's furniture and National Security Council but didn't require a Senate confirmation vote. 

However, successful portion because of Kerry's appointment, Congress passed a proviso successful nan 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, which Biden signed into rule successful December 2021, prohibiting nan president from appointing immoderate State Department typical envoy "without nan proposal and consent of nan Senate."

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In consequence to nan White House's maneuver skirting Senate confirmation for Podesta, respective much mean Democrats, including senators Jon Tester, D-Mont.; Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio; Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis.; Bob Casey, D-Pa.; and Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., successful summation to Kyrsten Sinema, I-Ariz., who caucuses pinch Democrats, were each silent. The lawmakers either ignored aliases declined to remark erstwhile contacted by Fox News Digital.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Ben Cardin, D-Md., didn't respond to requests for comment.

"Any appointed management charismatic that will heavy trust connected State Department unit and resources should beryllium accountable to legislature committees pinch jurisdiction complete State, including nan Senate Foreign Relations Committee," Jim Risch, R-Idaho, ranking personnel of nan Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told Fox News Digital successful a statement.

"It is not unprecedented for personification serving successful nan White House to spell done Senate confirmation," he added. "If nan Biden management would for illustration for nan domiciled of elder advisor for world ambiance argumentation to beryllium effective, it should nonstop Mr. Podesta’s assignment to our committee for consideration."

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John Barrasso, R-Wyo., ranking personnel of nan Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, added that Biden knows Podesta would ne'er past Senate confirmation.

"John Podesta is simply a John Kerry clone. He will peddle much of nan aforesaid attacks connected American energy," Barrasso told Fox News Digital. "He will protect China’s position arsenic a free rider connected world ambiance agreements. Joe Biden knows Podesta’s extremist ideas could ne'er guidelines up to nan scrutiny of Senate confirmation."

And Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., who serves arsenic nan ranking personnel connected nan Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee connected Energy, noted that Podesta has a documented history pinch officials tied to nan Chinese Communist Party.

"John Podesta runs a think-tank funded by large tech, he’s spent years moving for dark-money ambiance activists, and has said he has nan ‘highest regard’ for CCP officials," Hawley told Fox News Digital. "This man should beryllium obscurity adjacent nan national government, truthful it’s nary daze nan Biden Administration wants to debar Senate confirmation and a nationalist oculus connected their unspeakable pick."  

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According to emails antecedently reviewed by Fox News Digital, Podesta held aggregate meetings successful 2015 and 2016 pinch Tung Chee-hwa, nan longtime vice chair of nan Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. He besides engaged pinch nan high-ranking Chinese charismatic years anterior while starring nan Center for American Progress, nan deliberation vessel he founded successful 2003, moreover referring to him arsenic his "friend from Hong Kong."

Since taking connected nan SPEC position, Kerry has traveled worldwide, attending high-profile ambiance summits and negotiated engagements successful an effort to push a world modulation from fossil fuels to greenish power alternatives. However, his agency has remained tight-lipped astir its soul operations and unit members, sparking disapproval from lawmakers who person demanded greater transparency.

The SPEC agency is housed astatine nan State Department and has an estimated $13.9 cardinal yearly fund pinch support for 45 personnel, nan mostly of whom are unknown.

In September 2022, Biden appointed Podesta to lead implementation of nan billions of dollars successful greenish power programme backing earmarked successful nan Inflation Reduction Act. Podesta past staffed his agency pinch several left-wing ambiance activists.