The Senate Finance Committee on Thursday afternoon unanimously approved Kevin McAleenan’s confirmation to serve as commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, moving the vote to the full Senate for final approval.
Acting Commissioner Kevin McAleenan, 46, has served as the steadfast head of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and face of the largest federal law enforcement agency to the trade since his nomination by President Donald Trump in early April 2017 to lead CBP.
On Thursday afternoon, the Senate Finance Committee voted to install McAleenan as the country’s next CBP commissioner. His confirmation hearing before the committee was held at the end of October. McAleenan’s confirmation now moves to the full Senate for final approval.
Since the announcement of his nomination, McAleenan has received bipartisan support within the Senate Finance Committee.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, the committee’s chairman, voiced his confidence in McAleenan to run the agency and implement the 2015 Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act.
The committee’s ranking member, Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said, “He’s got the right focus,” especially when it comes to taking on “modern-day trade cheats.”
It is the first time that anyone in active civil service at the former Customs Service, or CBP (created in 2003), has been named commissioner, as the job has traditionally been filled by political appointees. McAleenan has technically run CBP since former Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske left at the end of the Obama administration on Jan. 20.
Prior to that, he served as executive director of anti-terrorism, where he coordinated CBP policies, programs and operations and interactions within the law enforcement community. From 2003 to 2006, McAleenan was port director at Los Angeles International Airport. He received the DHS Secretary’s Award (Silver Medal) for Meritorious Service this year, as well as several honors in 2005.
Correction: A previous version of this story neglected to state that McAleenan’s confirmation must now go before the full Senate for final approval.