The GOP-controlled U.S. Senate has been very busy this week.
On Thursday, the Senate confirmed conservative filmmaker Michael Pack to lead the U.S. Agency for Global Media.
By a vote of 53 to 38, the upper chamber backed President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead government broadcasting, which is in charge of government-funded news outlets, including Voice of America.
The vote was almost entirely along party lines.
Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia was the only Democrat to vote in favor of the nomination.
Senate Confirms Conservative Filmmaker to Lead U.S. Media Agency https://t.co/2lQWP9Wxvk
— John Hamm (@JohnHam77828916) June 5, 2020
Just in- Senate confirms Michael Pack to lead @USAGMgov, fmrly known as @BBGgov, which oversees @VOANews. Pack's a conservative filmmaker, partners often w/Steve Bannon. He and his nonprofit are reportedly under investigation by DC Attorney General. More: https://t.co/7iJ8jdxhsy pic.twitter.com/5O4jF3YSJt
— Conor Finnegan (@cjf39) June 4, 2020
Democrats freaked out over Pack because he is supposedly a close ally to former Breitbart chairman Steve Bannon, once a top aide to Trump.
“It is absolutely critical that any person in this position maintain a strong firewall between the work of its networks and grantees and political interference,” Senator Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a speech opposing the nomination.
Democrats had sought to delay the Senate’s consideration of Pack after the attorney general for the city of Washington launched an investigation into whether Pack misused funds from his nonprofit Public Media Lab at his for-profit film company.
Republicans called it another witch hunt and confirmed Pack without allowing any more time to be wasted.
Senator Jim Risch, the Republican foreign relations committee chairman, praised Pack on Thursday as “uniquely qualified” for the position.
“This man is uniquely qualified to hold this position,” Senate Foreign Relations Chairman James Risch said Thursday. “He’s done an outstanding job – everyone should look at the most recent documentary he did on the Supreme Court – it was just outstanding. There’s been a political battle fight over him for two years and one day – today is the moment of truth.”
Trump tweeted later on Thursday about Pack’s confirmation. “Nobody has any idea what a big victory this is for America. Why? Because he is going to be running the VOICE OF AMERICA and everything associated with it.”
…Michael is Tough, Smart, and Loves our Country. This has been a big battle in Congress for 25 years. Thank you to our Great Republican Senate! @SenateCloakroom
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 4, 2020
The Senate has been busy lately.
The upper chamber recently confirmed a new inspector general to oversee money distributed as part of the $2 trillion economic rescue law.
By a vote of 51 to 40, the Senate confirmed Brian Miller, a lawyer in the White House counsel’s office.
Alabama Sen. Doug Jones — who is up for re-election in November — was the only Democrat to vote for Miller.
Miller will be tasked with overseeing the taxpayer-funded coronavirus pandemic recovery fund.
On Tuesday, Senate Republicans blocked a Democratic resolution to condemn Trump for the use of gas and rubber bullets against protesters near the White House.
Protests have erupted across the country following the death of George Floyd, who died after a policeman pinned his neck under a knee in Minneapolis.