WASHINGTON, D.C. (WPRI) — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday predicted a confirmation vote for Gov. Gina Raimondo to join President Joe Biden’s cabinet as soon as next week.
“We also hope to do Gina Raimondo, nominee for secretary of commerce, early next week,” he said on the Senate floor ahead of a vote on two other cabinet nominees.
“Make no mistake, the Senate is going to move quickly to approve key officials in the Biden administration this work period,” the Senate leader, a New York Democrat, continued. “At a time of acute national challenge, we need qualified leaders atop our federal agencies and fast. And that’s what we intend to do.”
Rhode Island U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse tweeted a short time later that Schumer said he would file cloture on Raimondo this week, a procedural move that ends the debate on a nominee.
The news comes after Raimondo told reporters Monday there was still no timeline for her departure to Washington. “I am not certain when I will be confirmed,” she said.
Raimondo’s nomination was voted out of the Senate Commerce Committee on Feb. 3, but her confirmation by the full Senate was delayed first by the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump and then by a scheduled Senate recess.
The delay has left Rhode Island in a gubernatorial limbo. Raimondo is still in charge but attempting to stay out of the spotlight, while Lt. Gov. Dan McKee — who will succeed her when she leaves — has at times publicly disagreed with Raimondo’s COVID-19 vaccination strategy.
But the two appeared to have reconciled somewhat on Monday, speaking at length and meeting in person as Raimondo signed an executive order giving McKee to the power to submit the state budget to the General Assembly, which is due March 11. They also jointly appointed three acting cabinet directors.
“I’m just here supporting Lt. Gov. Mckee in his transition,” Raimondo said.