Politics & Government

Brownback heads to D.C. to meet with McConnell amid uncertainty about confirmation

Gov. Sam Brownback is awaiting a Senate confirmation hearing on his nomination to be President Donald Trump’s ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom.
Gov. Sam Brownback is awaiting a Senate confirmation hearing on his nomination to be President Donald Trump’s ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom. AP

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback will meet with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in Washington on Wednesday as the Kansas Republican inches toward leaving his state office for a federal post.

McConnell’s spokesman, David Popp, confirmed Tuesday that the meeting would take place but offered no other details.

President Donald Trump in July nominated Brownback to serve as the next ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, but his confirmation process has moved slowly, with the governor poised to move into the final month of the year without a confirmation vote scheduled.

Brownback told reporters last week that he is hoping for a vote before Christmas. He has begun handing over some of his most important duties to Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, including the power to make Cabinet appointments and leadership over the state budget.

Brownback’s spokeswoman did not immediately respond to phone calls about the meeting with McConnell.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee narrowly advanced his nomination in October by an 11-10 vote after Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia raised concerns about Brownback’s record on LGBT rights.

Democrats have indicated that they plan to force Republicans to take extra procedural steps to confirm Brownback, which could delay a vote until next year. The Senate’s packed schedule, which includes a push for tax cuts and a slew of creeping budgetary deadlines, could also complicate how quickly Brownback gets a confirmation vote.

Republican Sens. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran of Kansas will join Brownback for his meeting with McConnell, their offices confirmed.

Bryan Lowry: 816-234-4077, @BryanLowry3

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