Senate Democrats say ‘not so fast’ on confirming Trump’s picks without full vettingPosted: 2016-12-30
Chuck Schumer is letting Republicans know that Senate Democrats aren’t just going to let Donald Trump’s nominees skate through confirmation without any scrutiny:
Matt House, a spokesman for Schumer, declined to rule out some form of retaliation if Trump’s nominees “are holding back tax returns, critical financial information, and are behind on their ethics certification.”
“As soon as President-elect Trump’s nominees have submitted all of their paperwork, (and) senators have had time to review their record and a fair hearing schedule has been agreed to by both parties, the process can move forward. If Republicans think we’re going to quickly greenlight their nominees to fill up this rigged Cabinet without a thorough review, they have another thing coming,” House said.
Democrats can use Senate procedures to throw sand in the gears of the chamber, though a 2013 rules change prevents them from unilaterally blocking Trump’s Cabinet selections. One strategy would force the Senate to go into recess in order to hold some committee hearings; Democrats could also deploy parliamentary tactics to force cloture votes on nominees and drag out debate for days. Democrats estimate they could make the confirmation process take as long as two months.
Republicans say this is totally unfair because President Obama’s nominees got swift confirmation processes (in 2009; many later nominees faced unprecedented obstruction). But:
Obama’s “administration thoroughly vetted potential nominees, ensured that they provided all of the relevant information to Senate committees before their hearings, and underwent a rigorous review and hearing process before a confirmation vote,” House said. “President-elect Trump’s administration has taken the opposite approach with his nominees.”
Imagine that. Who could have predicted that Donald Trump’s people would not be forthcoming about their tax returns and ethics?
Good for Senate Democrats for saying “not so fast.”