Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has lowered his expectations for confirmation votes in the Senate on Inauguration Day, blaming Democrats for slowing down the process.
McConnell had initially set the goal of confirming six or seven nominees on the same day as Donald Trump’s swearing in, but he told USA Today on Wednesday that the Senate will likely vote on just three nominees on Inauguration Day. The Senate confirmed seven nominees on the day of President Obama’s inauguration in 2009.
“It’s safe to say the Democrats are in a bad mood. You can see that in the way the confirmations process is going on in the Senate. We are getting off to kind of a rough start,” McConnell told USA Today.
“I remember, frankly, being appalled at some of Barack Obama’s appointments but my attitude was he won the election and that is what comes with winning the election.” he added.
Republicans initially packed several hearings into schedule for last week, but delayed some as Democrats complained that the timeline was rushed and called for hearings to be postponed until nominees’ ethics reviews had been completed.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on Wednesday evening complained that Republicans are still trying to rush the confirmation process.
“These past two weeks we have seen repeated efforts from the Trump transition, aided and abetted by Senate Republicans, to jam through nominees (in a way) that hides their views from the American people,” he said, according to CNN.
Schumer also warned that Democrats may call for “extensive debate” on certain nominees, which would slow down the confirmation process, per CNN.
The minority leader said that Democrats were limited in their ability to question Health and Human Services nominee Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) and Education nominee Betsy DeVos. He also said that DeVos’ ethics review is still not complete.
“It’s an affront to the openness and transparency that the American people are entitled to,” Schumer said, according to CNN. “This is a swamp cabinet full of bankers and billionaires.”