Biden’s highest-ranking Muslim nominee mired in GOP blockade

Risch spokesperson Marty Cozza confirmed the authenticity of the e-mail and stated the aide who wrote it was vetting Syed’s background when she “became aware he was an active board member for an advocacy group that has taken inflammatory positions regarding Israel. As is common in the vetting process, she moved forward on sharing Mr. Syed’s information with with Small Business Committee staff who were also reviewing his nomination.”

Religious organizers are denouncing the e-mail — which cites Emgage’s assist for criticisms of the Israeli authorities by Muslim American Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) — and different assaults on Syed as xenophobic and Islamophobic. The row has introduced hardball partisan ways to a lower-profile panel usually centered on financial considerations and the wheels of federal paperwork — not brawls over overseas coverage viewpoints.

“It’s clear that what’s being used against Mr. Syed is insinuation that is trying to exploit anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim animus. And we shouldn’t allow that to stand,” stated Rabbi Jason Kimelman-Block, Washington director of Bend the Arc Jewish Action, a progressive Jewish group.

Farah Brelvi, interim co-executive director of the nonprofit Muslim Advocates, stated the circulated GOP e mail “reeks of the kind of anti-Muslim bigotry that should have no place in our politics or society.”

Emgage issued an announcement for this story decrying “partisan attacks” on Syed and suggesting they had been motivated by his religion: “We do not believe in a religious test for leadership.”

While the back-and-forth continues, Republicans have all however introduced exercise to a halt on the Small Business panel. They boycotted the committee’s final try and advance Syed’s nomination in mid-July and have prevented Democrats from establishing a quorum for different panel work.

Small Business Committee Chair Ben Cardin (D-Md.) stated in a short interview that he needed to press ahead on Syed’s nomination and stated Republicans’ assaults on the nominee had been “ridiculous.”

“We’ll have another meeting,” Cardin stated. “But I’m going to give [Republicans] a chance to be able to cooperate with us. I’ve asked Mr. Syed for a little bit of time. I’d like to see him confirmed.”

Cardin stated the Biden administration had reached out to senators in an effort to interrupt the logjam over Syed, however Republicans present no indicators of relenting on their blockade or allowing different committee enterprise.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), who had led Republicans in opposing Syed, stated in a short interview he was involved about Syed’s connections to a bunch the Missouri Republican stated had made “antisemitic statements” — an obvious reference to Emgage — and would proceed to withhold a quorum from the committee “until we can get some answers.”

Hawley and different Republicans have demanded one other listening to be held on Syed’s affiliation with the Muslim advocacy group, which ran a multistate engagement effort to end up Muslim voters in the 2020 election. President Joe Biden spoke to a digital occasion hosted by an Emgage political affiliate throughout his marketing campaign final 12 months.

“Until we are able to get some solutions on that at the very least, then I’m not gonna vote for — I’m not gonna present a quorum,” Hawley said, adding that “I’m shocked that they have not withdrawn his nomination. I actually am.”

In written responses to questions from senators about his views on Israel and Emgage, Syed stated he doesn’t assist the boycott, divestment, and sanctions motion, often known as BDS, that is backed by some progressive Palestinian rights activists to push again on the Israeli authorities. He added that he is “supported engagement with Israeli businesses” all through his profession and would resign from the board of Emgage if confirmed — stating that his work with the group has been restricted to voter mobilization and engagement work, not coverage advocacy.

The White House, in the meantime, stood by its nominee. “Syed, who has lived the American dream as an immigrant and as the CEO of a small start-up, is well-equipped to help small businesses continue to create jobs, and his confirmation shouldn’t be held up by little more than partisan politics,” stated White House spokesperson Chris Meagher.

Syed, a businessman who’s presently the CEO of a well being care AI and analytics firm, has additionally served on the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, amongst different civic management roles. At his late-April affirmation listening to, Syed promised lawmakers he would lead the company “with urgency and purpose” and would draw on his previous entrepreneurial and civic experiences because the company helped pull small companies out of the pandemic.

Adding to the blockade by committee Republicans are their complaints concerning the Small Business Administration’s granting of Paycheck Protection Program loans to Planned Parenthood associates, a reversal of its coverage below former President Donald Trump’s administration.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), his social gathering’s high member on the Small Business panel, stated in an interview that he would additionally withhold a quorum from the committee whereas they tried to get extra data from the company on the loans.

“We’re still fighting over it right now and trying to get more information,” Paul stated. The Republican members of the committee stated on the finish of July they’d not enable a vote on Syed till the SBA took motion on the loans.

While Syed’s affirmation stays caught, Cardin confirmed palpable frustration.

“I have not heard any legitimate opposition to Mr. Syed himself,” Cardin stated, describing GOP resistance as a “shifting goal,” between objections to the nominee’s advocacy work with Emgage and the considerations about Planned Parenthood.

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