By Steve Neavling
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday was deadlocked on whether to advance the nomination of David Chipman, President Biden’s pick to lead the ATF.
With a 10-10 vote, the committee was split along party lines. But in the event of a tie, the nomination still moves to the floor.
Republicans are expected to continue opposing the nomination of Chipman, who has advocated for firearm restrictions, including a ban on assault weapons such as AR-15s.
“David Chipman is a partisan gun control zealot who is advocating for restricting Americans’ Second Amendment rights in calling for a ban on the most popular rifle in America – to include those already in our homes,” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said in a statement.
Chipman is a gun owner and former ATF agent.
In April, the NRA announced its plans to oppose Chipman’s nomination as part of a $2 million campaign to fight gun-control measures.
Biden has faced pressure by gun control groups to pick someone to head the ATF, which has been without a permanent director since 2015 as the nation continues to grapple with mass shootings.
As vice president, Biden recommended in 2013 that President Obama pick a Senate-confirmed ATF director. Obama followed through with the confirmation of B. Todd Jones in 2013, but Jones resigned in 2015, and the agency has been without a permanent director since.
Whether Biden can muster the 51 votes required to confirm a permanent leader is an open question. Republicans have blocked ATF candidates who were far friendlier to the pro-gun base.