Yesterday Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee were able to prevent the panel from their confirmation votes, because, under committee rules, 13 members, including at least one Democrat, must be present. The 23 person committee has 14 Republicans and 12 Democrats overall. No Democrats were present, due to their boycott, and, as a result, Rep. Tom Price, the Health nominee and Steve Mnuchin, Trump’s Treasury selection, weren’t confirmed as they should’ve been yesterday.
It was a completely pointless boycott, as the vote can’t be put off forever, and those nominees would be confirmed whenever a vote was eventually held. The people boycotting the vote are among the same people who complained about Republicans obstructing President Obama…but at least the Republicans showed up for work.
As expected, the boycott didn’t last longer than a day, and not because the Democrats caved.
As the New York Post reported:
Senate Republicans pushed through two of President Trump’s Cabinet nominees Wednesday by changing the rules at the Finance Committee to circumvent a Democratic boycott.
The Republican-led committee approved Steve Mnuchin as Treasury secretary and Tom Price as Health and Human Services secretary once it disposed of the requirement that at least one Democrat be present for the vote.
Claiming they have more questions about both nominees, Democrats have refused to attend committee meetings for two days.
Committee chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) blasted the Democratic snub as a “cheap political ploy.” “They should be ashamed,” Hatch added after the meeting.
The nominations now go to the full Senate, which is also controlled by Republicans.
Hatch denounced the missing Democrats as “idiots” before all GOP members of the committee voted for the nominees.
“There’s no excuse for what they did yesterday and there’s no excuse for what they did today,” Hatch said.
Hatch later explained following the vote, “We took some unprecedented actions today due to the unprecedented obstruction on the part of our colleagues. As I noted earlier, the Senate Finance Committee has traditionally been able to function in even the most divisive political environments. Personally, as longtime member of this committee, I have been proud of that distinction,” Hatch said. “And, in my time as both Ranking Member and Chairman of this committee, I have bent over backwards to preserve its unique status as one of the few places where Republicans and Democrats not only work together, but achieve results. That all changed yesterday.”
[Note: This post was written by Matt Palumbo. Follow him on Twitter @MattPalumbo12]