Senator Angus King (Italian) had previously stated to the Biden administration that he wasn't supportive of the nominee. Other centrist Democratic senators such as Joe Manchin from West Virginia and Jon Tester from Montana, have also refused to commit to the nomination. Chipman's failure to nominate Chipman, the second major choice Biden had to withdraw from his eight-month tenure, is a reminder of Congress' continued paralysis in gun control, despite years of failed bipartisan reform efforts.
The Senate Republicans asked Chipman about a recent interview where he stated that new gun owners without training should not bring out their guns "if the zombies begin to appear." The nominee said that the remarks were self-deprecating.
The nomination was blocked by the committee along party lines. This would have required the Senate to vote to disqualify him.
Chipman admitted that he knew the confirmation process would prove difficult after he announced his withdrawal.
Although we didn't succeed, it was vital that ATF be led by a confirmed Director who is accountable and does not place special interests above the safety of our children, he stated.
GOP senators celebrated Chipman's defeat. Senator Chuck Grassley (R.Iowa), who is the Judiciary Committee's top Republican, released a statement condemning Chipman's "long record of being a partisan and anti-Second Amendment activist."
Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Senate Judiciary Chairman, stated in a statement that Chipman is the latest target for gun rights groups. He called on the Biden administration and asked them to send an ATF nominee to Congress as soon as possible.
Chipman is not the only prominent White House nominee that was retracted amid opposition from the Democratic caucus. Neera Tanden was Biden's first pick for the White House Office of Management and Budget. He resigned in March amid opposition by Manchin and all 50 Senate Republicans.
Tanden joined the White House as a senior advisor in a non-Senate-confirmed capacity. However, Chipman could also be able to find a way into the Biden administration. Chipman was told by a source that he declined a job offer from the Justice Department.
Fred Guttenberg (a gun control advocate) was furious at the decision to withdraw the nomination. His daughter, Parkland school shooting victim, was killed in that 2018 incident. Guttenberg is a Biden ally. "We have weak senators like @SenAngusKing, who chose to listen and regulate industry. The White House did not fight this.
Only one nominee for ATF has been confirmed by the Senate: B. Todd Jones in 2013.
Anita Kumar contributed to the report.