Sunday, January 8, 2017

Senate Hearings for Trump Cabinet Picks to Start This Week

Republican U.S. Senate Leader Mitch McConnell is telling Democrats to “grow up” and not put up any roadblocks to conformation hearings for President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet picks.

At least seven Trump Cabinet nominees are expected to appear before Senate committees this week. They include secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson, attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions, and would-be education secretory Betsy DeVos.

Some of Trump’s Cabinet choices, including Tillerson and DeVos, are billionaires with vast financial holdings. And some Democrats say they have not been fully vetted.

McConnell appeared on CBS television’s Face the Nation Sunday and accused the Democrats of sour grapes over the presidential election.

“All of these little procedural complaints are related to their frustrations at having not only lost the White House, but having lost the Senate. I understand that, but we need to sort of grow up here and get past that,” McConnell told the broadcast.

He pointed out that Republicans gave speedy approval to many of President Barack Obama’s nominees in 2009 even though they were “wildly liberal.”

But it is not just Democratic lawmakers who are concerned about a lack of disclosure by some Trump nominees.

The head of the independent and non-partisan U.S. Office of Government Ethics, Walter Shaub, said in a letter to Democratic leaders last week that not all of the nominees scheduled for hearings have completed the required ethics review process or initial draft financial disclosure reports.

“I am not aware of any occasion in the four decades since OGE was established when the Senate held a confirmation hearing before the nominee had completed the ethics review process,” Shaub wrote.

He said the hearings schedule has created “undue pressure” on his staff to rush through these reviews, leaving some nominees with unknown or unresolved ethics issues.

The law requires Cabinet nominees to get OGE certification of their financial disclosure reports before a hearing can be held.

“As long as I remain director, OGE’s staff and agency ethics officials will not succumb to pressure to cut corners and ignore conflicts of interest,” Shaub said.

Trump Chief of Staff Rance Priebus told Fox News Sunday the transition team has no thought of delaying confirmation hearings. He said the Democrats and the OGE have “all the details they need” and that the process has to move faster.

Previous Post
Next Post

post written by: