The Biden administration went all-in on David Chipman. They pushed him as the man to lead the ATF and damn anyone who disagrees. While many nominees would have been withdrawn by now, Chipman remains. Democrats have been hopeful that they could push through.
However, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin may not be so sure anymore.
According to Politico, the Democrat is taking a very different tone.
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin said Monday that “there are a lot of issues” with President Joe Biden’s pick to oversee the nation’s firearm regulations.
The Senate has yet to move forward on David Chipman’s nomination to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. A handful of moderate Democrats, including Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.), have yet to say whether they’ll support his nomination.
Durbin acknowledged Monday that the whip count “is not where we want it yet, but there’s always a chance.”
With Senate Republicans likely to unanimously oppose Chipman’s nomination, Democrats can’t afford to lose a single vote in their 50-member caucus. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has described Chipman as an “anti-gun extremist,” while moderate Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said he’s made statements that “demean law-abiding gun owners.”
Durbin acknowledged that the role is controversial, which makes it hard to find anyone to permanently fill the seat.
It’s interesting that Durbin’s optimism on Chipman seems to have fallen a bit. Rather than his earlier confidence that Democrats could, indeed, get the vote, now it’s a “there’s always a chance” kind of thing, which is what you say when you know you’re going to lose, but you just don’t want to admit it to yourself.
Of course, that’s good news for Second Amendment advocates. Chipman would be a complete and total disaster leading the ATF. His confirmation failing would do a lot to help preserve gun rights in this nation.
More than that, though, it would likely expend a lot of President Joe Biden’s much-needed political capital. By pushing Chipman as hard as he has, he’s made it clear that despite calls for unity, he has no interest in unifying anything or anyone. That’s going to make his legislative agenda that much more difficult moving forward.
Especially if Democrats take the setbacks during the midterm elections many people expect.
If they lose both chambers–something that may well happen–then Biden isn’t going to be able to accomplish anything legislatively. Granted, without a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, he’s not going to accomplish much as it is, but it’ll be even less likely without majorities.
And don’t think nominating an anti-Second Amendment extremist is going to help that.
Durbin’s comments suggest that Senate Democrats are starting to see that they’re not going to get someone like Manchin or Tester to go against their constituents’ wishes. They just aren’t ready to admit it just yet. Instead, they’ll keep going and hope that someone will jump ship or that Manchin and Tester will decide they don’t want another term and will be willing to vote for Chipman on their way out the door, but he’s not holding his breath.
It really does look like Chipman is done.
They just need to go ahead and stick the fork in him.