Incoming Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and his fellow Democratic senators will aggressively target eight of President-elect Donald Trump’s “rigged Cabinet” picks, according to a report from the Washington Post.
“If Republicans think they can quickly jam through a whole slate of nominees without a fair hearing process, they’re sorely mistaken,” Schumer told the Post Sunday. He added, “President-elect Trump is attempting to fill his rigged cabinet with nominees that would break key campaign promises and have made billions off the industries they’d be tasked with regulating.”
Schumer has reportedly told Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) that Democrats will be targeting secretary of state pick Rex Tillerson; attorney general pick Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL); Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), who has been tapped to lead the Office of Management and Budget; education secretary nominee Betsy DeVos; Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), the choice to lead the Department of Health and Human Services; labor secretary selectee Andrew Puzder; Steve Mnuchin for treasury secretary; and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, who has been chosen to head the Environmental Protection Agency.
On November 28, Senate Democrats addressed a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA), making it clear that they plan to resist Sen. Jeff Sessions’ confirmation as Trump’s first attorney general, despite noting that they “have a personal and cordial relationship” with him.
The Post notes that the list excludes retired Marine Gen. James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis, Trump’s pick for defense secretary; South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Trump’s nominee to serve as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations; and former Marine general John Kelly, tapped to lead the Department of Homeland Security.
The confirmation hearings are scheduled to start next week.
The 115th Congress will be sworn in on Tuesday. Schumer has reportedly said he wants at least two days of hearings for each Cabinet pick and stated that no more than two choices should face hearings in the same week — a move that will likely push confirmations into March.
The Post and several Republicans have pointed out that his demand is in stark contrast to 2009, when Democrats controlled the 111th Congress and seven of President Barack Obama’s cabinet confirmations were unanimously approved on Inauguration Day.
Trump’s incoming press secretary Sean Spicer shot back on CNN’s New Day program with Alisyn Camerota Monday, saying it was “frankly sad” that Schumer is planning to target the Cabinet nominees.
“It is sad that Sen. Schumer has chosen to politicize everything, because each of these individuals is an unbelievable agent of success and change that is going to help this country move forward,” Spicer said. “And the idea that the Democrats’ choice is to figure out, from day one, how to oppose every one of these individuals is frankly sad.”
Nominations for the positions of secretary of Veterans Affairs, Council of Economic Advisors, Trade Representative, Secretary of Agriculture, and director of National Intelligence have not yet been announced.
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