Speed Reads

AAPI Power

Sen. Tammy Duckworth drops threat to vote against white Biden nominees after AAPI representation 'assurances'

A few hours after saying she would vote against President Biden's white judicial and sub-Cabinet nominees until he picks more Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders for key executive branch positions, Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) reversed course Tuesday night.

Duckworth said through a spokesman that she had received "assurances" from the White House that Biden would elevate AAPI voices and policies, work to confirm more Asian American nominees, and appoint a senior AAPI White House official "to represent the community." Accordingly, the spokesman said, Duckworth "will not stand in the way of President Biden's qualified nominees — which will include more AAPI leaders."

"The episode, brief as it was, speaks to the continued precariousness of President Joe Biden's agenda" in a 50-50 Senate, Politico's Playbook notes. Until now, threatening to single-handedly derail a nomination or bill was "the domain of Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.). Duckworth dipped her toes in the same water, and snapped the White House to attention. Will other senators follow suit?"

Probably, Politico suggests. "Once you're at the table, you're going to use your voice to advocate for your community. Whether the old guard likes it or not. And appeasing every group isn't easy, especially when one person can stymie your agenda if they're not satisfied."