Trump Cabinet Appointees Struggle Through Confirmation Process

Executive orders have been flying out of the White House, immigrants are being detained at airports, the former editor of a far right news site has just been added to the National Security Council and the Attorney General has been fired for refusing to defend an unconstitutional ban on Muslims entering the United States. The amount of chaos and divisiveness surrounding President Donald Trump’s first two weeks is so overwhelming, Americans have mostly forgotten that he still has Cabinet picks up for nomination.

That very well may be intentional.

The hearings for most of President Trump’s Cabinet were fraught with missing disclosure forms, disturbing answers on policy issues and rampant conflict of interest issues. Now that the actual votes are approaching, Democrats are trying to dig in their feet wherever possible. Unfortunately, as a minority party, that’s a difficult thing to do this session, and they’ve been only mildly successful.

Both Health and Human Services and Finance have been stalled at least momentarily by Democratic maneuvering. In the case of those two senate committees, Democrats refused to show up, leaving the Republicans unable to proceed. “The Senate Finance Committee convened a meeting to vote on the appointments of Georgia GOP Rep. Tom Price for Health and Human Services secretary and Steve Mnuchin for Treasury secretary, but none of the committee’s Democrats attended,” reports Roll Call. “Ranking Democrat Ron Wyden of Oregon issued the following statement on the Democrats’ decision: ‘This morning, the Finance Committee was scheduled to vote on two nominees who have misled the public and held back important information about their backgrounds. Until questions are answered, Democrats believe the committee should not move forward with either nomination.’”

Democrats were just as successful stalling Sen. Jeff Session’s confirmation for the Attorney General spot – at least, they were for one day. Due to the Trump administration’s unexpected firing of Sally Yates, the acting Attorney General and an Obama appointee, committee Democrats long-windedly criticized Trump and questioned whether Sessions would be a yes man of the new President.

“But for Democrats who, for weeks, have raised questions about Sessions’ ability to be an independent attorney general, Yates’ dramatic firing late Monday gave even more fodder on whether Sessions could be a check on a president who Democrats warn is already pushing the bounds of executive power,” Politico reports. “…Despite requests from Republicans to keep their comments short, each Democrat on the Judiciary Committee launched into lengthy speeches criticizing Sessions’ record and ties to Trump. The debate went on for so long that Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said the panel vote would slip to Wednesday, as Democrats prepared to invoke a rarely-used rule that committees cannot meet beyond two hours after coming into session. The Senate came into session at noon on Tuesday.”

Republicans chastised the Democrats for their tactics in stalling the hearings. “Someone needs to remind Senate Democrats that the election is over, and they lost,” said NRSC Spokesman Bob Salera in a statement. “The American people are sick of Senate Democrats’ political grandstanding, and these petty delay tactics are a great illustration of why they will remain in the minority for years to come.” Apparently, these Republicans forget they did the same thing just four years earlier to President Barack Obama’s own appointments.

While Mnuchin and Price may both be blocked for some time, Sessions is expected to move forward on Wednesday, and will join the likely Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry and Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke in heading to the full Senate for final confirmation. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao has already received full Senate approval. Rex Tillerson, nominee for Secretary of State, is also expected to receive a full senate vote this week, although Democrats are attempting to stall it until he responds with a statement about the new immigration ban. Labor Secretary Andrew Puzder still needs to have his first hearing, a process that has been delayed four times, in part because of concerns about lawsuits accusing him of discrimination among employees.

It may be impossible for Democrats to do anything to stop the President from eventually getting his full slate of appointees. But if nothing else, the lawmakers are showing that regardless of how many constitutional crises President Trump creates, they won’t be distracted from their opposition.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

53 comments

Siyus C
Siyus Cabout a year ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Marie W
Marie W1 years ago

Thank you for sharing

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Barbara S.
Barbara S.1 years ago

Trump picked all the worst malcontents he could find to fill these positions. It was deliberate. He wants to turn every person he can, against anyone who cares about another living human or living creature or plant, tree, bush, ocean, and sea creature. TRUE Capitalism requires us to think in the singular - "Every person for him/herself and their own families (providing the members stay in-line)" Why? I would guess it's because he has to mimic emotion when it comes to others. He's apparently devoid of empathetic feelings. He can't put himself into someone else's position, even for a moment, because he was born without that capability, or, it was beat or shamed out of him when he was a young boy. He also must have been taught that the best offense is a brutal defense. He apparently thinks the best way to cut the budget is to allow the premature, the deformed, the poor, the sick, the injured and the elderly to starve to death - helpless and homeless with no one wealthy enough to help them because the wealthy people he knows are, for the most part, just as insensitive as he is.

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Julie D
Julie D1 years ago

No wonder this is such a tedious process. Not one of the candidates is appropriate for the office they are to hold, and may have serious conflicts of interest. I would be very angry if they were not being thoroughly vetted. With the Majority of Republicans in the Senate and Congress they will do whatever they damned well please. At least it will be on record that the Democrats objected and for what totally legitimate and good reasons they did so.

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ERIKA S
ERIKA SOMLAI1 years ago

noted

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Deborah W
Deborah W1 years ago

Could that possibly come down to the llost cause of roadblocking and/or simply not showing up for work? Sour-grape tactics and a total waste of time, highlight the small-minded for what they are -- before the inevitable takes place, CONFIRMATION.

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Margie F
Margie FOURIE1 years ago

Okay

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ERIKA S
ERIKA SOMLAI1 years ago

noted

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Chad Anderson
Chad Anderson1 years ago

The real tragedy is not how far overboard Trump is going but how closely he is aligned with the Republican Party, which used to oppose most of what it currently represents.

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Shirley S
Shirley S1 years ago

The thinking World extends its sympathy to America on its demise.

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