Senate Democrats used Senate committee rules to exhibit their opposition to President Trump and his Cabinet nominees earlier this week.
Their recent moves of boycotting committee hearings to delay the confirmations have become a workaround for their lack of numbers to vote down Trump’s nominees.
But Republicans found a way around the Democrat boycotts to get the work done anyway.
The Senate has felt like a soap opera ever since President Trump took office two weeks ago, with Senate Democrats using committee technicalities to take aim at his Cabinet picks.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) advised,
“It’s time to get over the fact that they lost the election. The president is entitled to have his Cabinet appointments considered. None of this is going to lead to a different outcome.”
But Democrats insist on continuing the partisan melodramatics.
According to Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), “Democrats are going to keep fighting back.” And with an ironic twist, Murray continued, “We are going to stand with people across the country. And we will keep pushing Republicans to put country above party, and stand with us.”
The confirmation delays add to the drama surrounding POTUS’ controversial Executive Orders and his firing of acting Attorney General Sally Yates for her refusal to execute portions of his orders.
When President Trump nominated Representative Tom Price (R-GA) for Secretary of Health and Human Services and Steve Mnuchin for Treasury secretary, the next routine step would have been for a Senate committee to schedule the vote on their confirmation.
After the committee had voted on and confirmed them, the action would go to the full Senate floor for a final confirmation.
But within the committee tasked with the vote, there were not enough Democrats to vote against the nominees. And no Republicans were likely to oppose Price or Mnuchin.
So, with a straight up vote, the new HHS secretary and Treasury secretary should have been easily confirmed in their respective Cabinet positions.
That’s why Senate Democrats chose to boycott the committee votes altogether.
Committee rules state at least one member of each party (Democrat and Republican) must be present at committee for the panel to vote at all.
But on Tuesday, no Democrats showed up, stagnating the vote. And on Wednesday, they failed to show up again, putting the whole process at what was seemingly an impasse.
However, in an unusual move, Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee who were responsible for voting to confirm Mnuchin and Price took advantage of a different rule, and Chairman of the Finance Committee Orrin Hatch (R-UT) allowed the Senators who had shown up — all Republicans — to vote to suspend the rules of the committee.
After they suspended the rules, Republicans were able to vote on the nominees without any Democrats present.
Hatch defended the move as his own simple use of the rules.
“This is all approved by the Parliamentarian. I wouldn’t have done it if it hadn’t been.”
“They on their own accord refused to participate in the exercise,”
Hatch said of the absent Democrats.
“They have nobody to blame but themselves.”
In a similar situation, Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee cited Trump’s firing of Sally Yates as their excuse for invoking an old Senate rule to block their committee from holding a vote on the nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), which stalled that vote until Wednesday.
However, Democrats had less success attempting to stall other of Trump’s Cabinet nominees.
It’s beginning to look less like they have issues with the individuals themselves, and more like they are deciding to take their ball and go home in a juvenile attempt to protest the new Republican President and his entire administration altogether.
Regarding the juvenile behavior by Democrats to stall any votes on Trump nominees, Orrin Hatch said,
“Some of this is just because they don’t like the president.”
He further advised that the Democrats should,
“stop posturing and acting like idiots.”
Sen. Patrick Toomey (R-PA) said,
“We did not inflict this kind of obstructionism on President Obama.”
In the aftermath of Trump’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, these political theatrics are sure to keep up since Gorsuch will require 60 votes or more to break a Democrat filibuster.
American Patriot Daily will continue to keep you updated regarding this potential Democrat filibuster.