June 16, 2022

Durbin Urges Colleagues to Support Nominee to Lead ATF

ATF has been without a Senate confirmed director for seven years

WASHINGTON – In a speech on the Senate floor, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today urged his colleagues to support the nomination of Steven Dettelbach to be Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).  Earlier today, Mr. Dettelbach’s nomination advanced out of the Judiciary Committee by a vote of 11-11. Under the provisions of S. Res. 27, Leader Schumer must file a discharge motion on Mr. Dettelbach’s nomination in order to place him on the executive calendar.  Mr. Dettelbach’s discharge vote will take place on the Senate floor later today.

“Yesterday we held a hearing in the Judiciary Committee on the leading cause of death for children in America—guns… During the hearing, we heard from a chorus of witnesses—health care witnesses, law enforcement, community violence prevention.  They agreed on one basic thing: gun violence is traumatizing an entire generation of American youth. Lawmakers in Congress have a responsibility to stem this tide of violence,” said Durbin.  “Today we can start by discharging from the Committee a proven battle-tested leader to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.  His name is Steve Dettelbach… He has an exceptional record… At a moment when guns are killing our kids at a devastating rate, this office cannot remain vacant any longer.”

Durbin concluded, “When a mass shooter tears apart a community like Buffalo, New York, or Uvalde, Texas, ATF agents are among the first federal officers to respond.  Let us not wait a minute longer in providing these heroic agents the leader that they deserve… I hope my colleagues will join me in voting for Steve Dettelbach’s confirmation on the floor of the Senate today.  It is timely.  It is important.  And it’s long overdue.”

Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here for TV Stations.

More than 140 former Justice Department officials—including multiple Trump Administration appointees—have voiced support for Mr. Dettelbach’s nomination.  And he has earned the trust of a long list of law enforcement organizations, including: The National Sheriffs Association; The International Association of Chiefs of Police; The Major County Sheriffs of America; The National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives; The Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association; Women in Federal Law Enforcement; The Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association; and many others.

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