The U.S. Senate has confirmed Steve Dettelbach to run the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The vote on Tuesday makes him the agency's first confirmed director since 2015. Dettelbach takes the reins of the agency as the Biden administration and the Justice Department are fighting to combat a surge in violent crime, gun violence and mass shootings that has touched big cities and small rural communities across the nation.
Dettelbach was confirmed by the Senate in a 48-46 vote. President Joe Biden called Dettelbach an "extraordinarily qualified and decorated career prosecutor with strong support across the law enforcement community."
“We have so much more to do,” Biden said in a statement. “I will continue to call on Congress to build on this momentum and ban assault weapons, expand background checks, and pass safe storage laws.”
Both Republican and Democratic administrations had long failed to get nominees for the ATF position through the politically fraught process since the director’s position was made confirmable in 2006, the Associated Press reported. Since then, only one nominee, former U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones, has been confirmed.
Jones made it through the Senate in 2013 but only after a six-month struggle. Jones was acting director when President Barack Obama nominated him in January 2013 and left the role in 2015.