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Biden nominee would be most senior woman ever at Department of Veterans Affairs

President Biden on Wednesday named a historic nominee as deputy secretary for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), though she may face opposition from Senate Republicans, who are holding up military-related nominees over policy fights.

Tanya Bradsher would become the highest-ranking woman in the VA’s history if confirmed, as previous female leaders in the position served only as acting deputy secretaries, the second-highest post in the department.

Bradsher, who would replace retired Deputy Secretary Donald Remy, is the chief of staff at the VA and a veteran who served for 20 years in the U.S. Army.

She also worked with the National Security Council in the White House during the Obama and Biden administrations and as a former chief of staff for Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.).

Beyer on Wednesday tweeted that Bradsher is a “tireless advocate for America’s veterans and a wonderful person.”

Bradsher is likely to face a difficult confirmation process in the Senate — where any senator can decline to join a unanimous vote for quick approval and force a lengthier floor vote.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is holding up another VA nominee, Josh Jacobs, for a post as under secretary for benefits.

Grassley is objecting to unanswered questions on what he calls ethics violations and “a series of scandals and breaches of public trusts” at the VA in the past.

Republicans are also battling the Biden administration over a new policy that allows the VA to provide abortion counseling and abortions in the case of rape, incest, or if the life of the mother is threatened.

The Senate on Wednesday failed to pass a bill sponsored by Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) that would have reversed the policy.

Opponents of the policy say it violates the Hyde Amendment, which prevents taxpayer-funded abortions.

Tuberville is holding up some 180 nominations of flag officers and generals in the Defense Department over another abortion policy in the Pentagon.

That policy gives paid time off for service members who elect to get an abortion and reimburses their travel if the procedure is banned in their state.

Source: The Hill

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