Senate Democrats are prepared to throw a wrench in the process to approve President-elect Trump’s cabinet nominees, Politico is reporting.
With Senate Democrats concerned that many of Trump’s picks may be inexperienced and that others have controversial records – and with the memory of Republicans’ blockade of Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland still very fresh – their approach will be to slow things way down.
While Politico points out that many of President Barack Obama’s cabinet picks were approved on his first day in office, Democrats are likely to force a drawn-out process through parliamentary maneuvering, something that could take far longer in the Senate and interrupt Republicans’ ability to jump start their agenda in January. Democrats cannot keep Trump’s nominees out of office. After a rules change, Trump’s nominees only need 51 votes to be approved now. However, Democrats can bring the process to a crawl.
“There should be recorded votes, in my view, on every one of the president’s Cabinet nominees,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) told Politico. “Having all of these hearings before the inaugural in a thorough and fair fashion seems very difficult to do.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who will be the ranking member on the Judiciary Committee in the new Congress, told Politico that “past is present, and what goes around comes around.”
The nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) to be the attorney general is one of the more controversial picks Trump has made. Sessions and Trump’s Treasury Secretary nominee Steve Mnuchin are expected to face bitter hearings in committee. Democrats have also warned that the nomination of Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) to lead HHS is expected to be a drawn out battle over privatization of Medicare and the repeal of Obamacare, both of which Price has been an outspoken advocate of.