GOP Changes Rules, Confirms Trump Nominees Without Democrats

News: US News
by Christine Niles  •  •  February 1, 2017   

The surprise move came in response to Dems' second day boycotting hearings

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WASHINGTON ( - After Democrats forced further delays in confirming the president's nominees, boycotting both Tuesday and Wednesday's hearings, Republicans changed the rules to vote without Democrats present. The result was the swift confirmation of Tom Price for health secretary and Steve Mnuchin for treasury secretary.

The Senate Finance Committee's previous rules required that 13 of its members, including at least one Democrat, be present for votes. Wednesday morning, the GOP members of the Committee voted to suspend the rule, and both Price and Mnuchin sailed through committee 14–0.

Votes on both nominees now go to the full Senate for a vote.

Senate Finance Committee chairman Orrin Hatch denounced the Democrats' boycott Tuesday. "It's a cheap political ploy, and they should be ashamed. They should be ashamed," he said.
It's a cheap political ploy, and they should be ashamed.

An orthopedic surgeon for 20 years who has served six terms in the U.S. House, Price has a strong pro-life track record, receiving a 100-percent rating by National Right to Life. He has opposed federal funding of abortion and Planned Parenthood, and in 2007 voted in favor of the Right to Life Act, which declared that the unborn are human persons entitled to full constitutional protection.

He has also been a strong advocate of true marriage, voting for a constitutional amendment to define marriage as only between a man and a woman. He's called Obama's pro-LGBT measures a "vile liberal agenda that is threatening everything we hold dear as Americans."

If confirmed, he'd oversee the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Medicare and Medicaid. He would also be chief architect of the overhaul of Obamacare, which he has strongly denounced.

"Congressional Democrats and the Obama administration blatantly ignored the voices of the American people and rammed through a hyperpartisan piece of legislation that will have a disastrous effect on our nation's healthcare system," he said of the law.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has repeatedly lamented the obstinacy of Democrats in failing to move forward with Trump's nominees.

"It's time for Senate Democrats to stop playing political games with the core functions of government, and to allow President Trump's unquestionably qualified and talented group of Cabinet nominees to get to work on behalf of the American people," Spicer said January 23.

And Tuesday, Spicer repeated his complaint, calling the Democrats' delay tactics "ridiculous."

The mere idea they're not even showing up to hearings is truly outrageous.

"The mere idea they're not even showing up to hearings is truly outrageous," he remarked. "So I'd like to give a special shout-out to the folks at C-SPAN for making sure that all of these embarrassing actions by Senate Democrats get the wall-to-wall coverage that they deserve. "

He continued:

I don't mean to sound like a broken record, but the numbers don't lie. Sixteen of President Trump's nominees to head major department or agencies are still waiting to be confirmed. At the same time in 2009, President Obama only had seven of these people awaiting confirmation. In 2001, President Bush had all but two.


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