On Senate Floor, Tester Urges Colleagues to Quickly Confirm Homeland Security Secretary Nominee Ali Mayorkas

Senator: “It’s our duty to put somebody in this role who is up to the task to get things done”

U.S. Senator Jon Tester took to the Senate floor earlier today to urge his colleagues to quickly confirm Alejandro “Ali” Mayorkas-President Biden’s nominee to lead the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)-whose years of experience at the agency make him an optimal candidate for the position, particularly following the insurrection attempt at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th.

“It’s our duty to put somebody in this role who is up to the task to get things done. And I’m here to assure you that Ali Mayorkas is that man,” said Tester. “…it’s obvious that he has a concrete understanding of the challenges that this country is facing-from the coronavirus pandemic, to immigration, to cybersecurity, to threats both from our foreign adversaries, and now more than ever, our domestic ones.”

Tester continued: “I hope this body will act quickly to get Ali Mayorkas confirmed so he can get to work as soon as possible. Because honestly-after the events on January 6th-we have no time to waste.”

Mayorkas has spent seven years in leadership roles at DHS, previously serving as Deputy DHS Secretary from 2013-2016, and Director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services from 2009-2013. Last month, his nomination to lead DHS was confirmed by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee with bipartisan support.

As a longtime member and current leader of the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, Tester has worked closely with Mayorkas throughout his tenure. In 2015, Mayorkas visited Montana at Tester’s invitation where they toured the northern border, visited the Ports of Piegan and Sweetgrass, hosted a roundtable on human trafficking, and held listening sessions on law enforcement and cross-border trade.

“[Mayorkas] has demonstrated that he is going to listen and learn about the unique problems facing each state in the union. He proved that to me when I brought him to Montana back in 2015,” said Tester. “…He traveled thousands of miles to hear firsthand what Montanans had to say, and because of it he understood what our state needed from him to be successful. That folks is what real leadership looks like.”

Tester has worked tirelessly to ensure that Montana has the resources it needs to bolster homeland security and protect families. He recently secured billions in funding for the state’s homeland security priorities including investments into the Federal Emergency Management Agency, screening operations and technology acquisitions for the Transportation Security Agency, Coast Guard readiness, and critical border security technology and assets. He also brought in nearly $83.5 million in DHS pandemic relief funds to help Montana fight the COVID-19 crisis.

Watch Tester’s full speech on the floor of the Senate HERE.