- For the 4th time, Republicans boycotted a listening to for Biden’s best-ranking nominee who is Muslim.
- Republicans have accused Dilawar Syed of anti-Semitism, a charge that primary Jewish groups have refuted.
- Advocacy groups and Senate Democrats are decrying the blockade as “bigoted” and “own.”
For the fourth time, Senate Republicans blocked the consideration of Dilawar Syed, the CEO of a healthcare AI business and President Joe Biden’s nominee to serve as deputy administrator of the Small Business enterprise Administration, in the Senate’s Tiny Small business Committee. If verified, Syed would be the highest-ranking formal in the federal authorities who is a working towards Muslim.
Syed is not the only Biden nominee facing a blockade — Republican Sens. Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley have set a maintain on many of the president’s diplomatic and nationwide security-related nominees as properly. But this blockade, according to Senate Democrats and spiritual advocacy groups, is distinct.
“We are not accurately guaranteed what they want,” claimed Sen. Ben Cardin, the chair of the committee in which Syed’s nomination remains held up. “This is obstructionist, and it is really incredibly personal to Mr. Syed.”
“In his case, some of the arguments they’ve lifted are… not persuasive,” explained Sen. Mazie Hirono, a Democratic member of the committee.
The GOP blockade has held up the business of the committee for months as Republicans have boycotted numerous scheduled committee conferences in purchase to deny the committee a quorum, including a further layer of frustration for Democrats.
“We can debate the difficulties, we can debate the individual, but to deny a quorum is not truthful to the tiny business owners who need assistance about the country,” Sen. Jacky Rosen told Insider. Democrats have sought to highlight the require to fill the SBA situation as tiny enterprises wrestle to arise from the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But Republicans have seized on Syed’s membership on the board of Emgage Motion, a Muslim-American advocacy team. Hawley spearheaded a letter with other Republicans on the committee that specially termed out as “anti-Semitic” a line from 1 of the group’s push releases that explained Palestinians as “occupied” and Israel as “the occupier.”
Republicans also accused Syed of supporting the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which Syed has explicitly disavowed, noting that he’s “individually conducted small business with Israeli organizations.”
And POLITICO claimed in August that an aide to Republican Sen. Jim Risch of Idaho flagged Syed’s Pakistani heritage in a June e mail to committee members — a depth that has no bearing on Syed’s qualifications to do the work and a single that equally advocacy groups and Democratic senators have highlighted as an illustration of the “flagrant anti-Muslim bias” animating Republican opposition to the nominee.
An August letter to the committee from the Leadership Convention on Civil and Human Rights touted Jewish groups’ support for Syed, denouncing the Republicans’ boycott of the committee as “tinged with spiritual bigotry and xenophobia.”
And Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, the head of maybe the most influential organization combatting anti-Semitism, advised the Each day Beast that it was “distressing to see the assaults on Mr. Syed’s candidacy since of his association with Emgage” and that “we require him confirmed.”
Senate Democrats mostly concur. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer claimed on Twitter on Wednesday that Democrats were “combating the Republican hateful, bigoted marketing campaign in opposition to this nominee.”
“It is shameful, unacceptable, and preposterous for Republicans to hold stalling on Mr. Syed’s nomination,” Schumer stated on the Senate floor. “He is eminently skilled to serve in the SBA.”
“Just one could conclude that they are being incredibly bigoted and significant,” said Hirono. “But given that when does that faze the Republicans in their opposition to anything?”
Cardin, for his portion, named the assaults “particular” and “inappropriate.”
Hawley told Insider on Thursday that Syed’s affiliation with Emgage — which even worked with Sen. Rubio’s workplace in 2019 on a invoice to defend Uyghur human legal rights — is a “non-starter.”
“Specially in this time of heightened violence for Jewish Individuals, there’s no way I’m likely to aid any individual who has been celebration to anti-Israel, anti-Semitic feedback,” Hawley mentioned. “No way.”
But when questioned by Insider about the ADL’s obvious endorsement of Syed, Hawley merely reiterated his posture. “It truly is my vote, it is my accountability,” he mentioned.
Achieved for remark, Rubio’s business directed Insider to a tweet by the committee’s Republicans that explained they is not going to allow a vote on Syed right until the Little Enterprise Administration attempts to recover PPP financial loans offered out to Prepared Parenthood branches. Sen. Roger Marshall’s business also flagged the situation when questioned by Insider about the blockade.
—Senate Compact Biz (@SmallBizCmteGOP) July 26, 2021
And Sen. Rand Paul, the committee’s position Republican who did not indication on to Hawley’s letter, wrote in an op-ed these days that his opposition to voting on Syed is also related to PPP loans supplied to Planned Parenthood.
But Senate Democrats are not obtaining that rationale both.
“Every single time we consider to accommodate their requests, they transfer the goalposts,” mentioned Cardin, noting that Syed has “absolutely nothing to do with” Planned Parenthood.
The workplaces of Sens. Rand Paul, Jim Risch, Tim Scott, Joni Ernst, Jim Inhofe, Todd Young, and John Kennedy — all of whom sit on the committee — did not react to requests for remark.