Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 4, 2015

Murkowski Switches Vote on ATF Nominee (Updated)

Updated 4:04 p.m. | Democrats and their allies lobbied Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska for more than an hour Wednesday to change her vote on the nominee to head up the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the pressure worked.

Murkowski flipped and voted to advance the nomination of B. Todd Jones to be the ATF’s new director. With her vote change, Murkowski both averted a filibuster, and perhaps more importantly, staved off Democratic threats to end the minority’s ability to filibuster executive branch nominees. Just weeks ago, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., backed away from using the “nuclear option” after a number of Republicans, including Murkowski, began voting to beat back filibuster attempts led by their own party.

That tentative agreement was imperiled Wednesday by the struggle to get 60 votes for Jones. Murkowski originally voted “no,” but after conferring with Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, John McCain, R-Ariz., Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., and Reid, among others, the Alaska Republican switched to “yes.”

The other GOP “yes” votes were: McCain, Collins, Mark S. Kirk of Illinois, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire.

As of 3:40 p.m., the vote that started at 2 p.m. still was being held open for Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp. She was traveling to D.C. from her home state of North Dakota.

Update | Heitkamp’s office said in a statement the senator will return to Washington and that she is a “yes.”

“This position hasn’t had a director for seven years and it’s way past time that the job is finally filled. Mr. Jones has strong credentials — he has built a reputation as someone who has aggressively fought back against gang violence and gun trafficking. And 81 U.S. Attorneys, including North Dakota’s, have shown their strong support for his nomination, as have many law enforcement officials across the country. I hope the ATF will be able to do its job, just as the American people deserve.”

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  1. camdenme2

    July 31, 2013
    4:22 p.m.

    Well,it’s the usual “suspects” voting with the Demorats !

    • David T

      Aug. 4, 2013
      10:55 p.m.

      Face it, there’s nothing conservatives can do about Murkowski. Primarying her won’t work, because if she loses the primary she can run as an independent and win–in 2010 she showed she could do so even as a write-in.

  2. ThreeToedBearkiller

    July 31, 2013
    5:17 p.m.

    the twins chitheadschumer-mclame both needs thrown out of the Senate

  3. Gyst53

    Aug. 7, 2013
    10:44 a.m.

    What was B. Todd Jones position on the Fast and Furious scandal as the ATF acting Director after Kenneth E. Melson’s resignation?

    What a complicated legal atrocity!

    “Choices and consequences simply means that, as an employee of ATF,
    should you decide not to abide by the standards of conduct or the rules
    of the road, should you decide that you’re not going to play by the
    rules, there will be consequences. Choices and consequences means simply
    that if you make poor choices, that if you don’t abide by the rules,
    that if you don’t respect the chain of command, if you don’t find the
    appropriate way to raise your concerns to your leadership, there will be
    consequences because we cannot tolerate, we cannot tolerate an
    undisciplined organization.”[5]

    This public statement by B._Todd_Jones appears to directly challenge exposing the truth!

    I guess President Obama’s “executive privilege order” for DOJ Attorney General Eric Holder, was enough to have the Senators approve this ATF nomination! How low can we go???

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