Breakthrough on Trump’s Cabinet after 2 am vote – Politico
After an excruciating week of battles over his Cabinet, President Donald Trump will experience a significant breakthrough next week in the Senate’s gridlocked attempts to confirm top staffers to his administration.
On Monday, the Senate will vote on Steven Mnuchin for treasury secretary, after the GOP pulled the plug on plans to power through his nomination during a weekend session. But rather than a long delay between Mnuchin and the next confirmation vote, Trump will see votes on two more top officials in quick succession.
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Immediately after the Mnuchin vote, the Senate will move to confirm David Shulkin as VA secretary. Shulkin, a holdover from the Obama administration, has faced no opposition from Senate Democrats . Then on Tuesday morning, the chamber will vote on former wrestling executive Linda McMahon for administrator of the Small Business Administration. She also has drawn little dissent from the Democratic minority.
The parliamentary thaw comes after repeated complaints by Trump himself that Democrats are slow-walking his administration with a historic delay in approving his Cabinet. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declared that it’s the slowest confirmation process since the presidency of George Washington, but the Kentucky Republican now has some good news to take to Trump during their private meeting at the White House on Friday morning.
The development also could allow the Senate to begin Trump’s agenda as soon as March. The battle over his Cabinet has tied the Senate in knots and delayed any attempts to move on legislation.
Still, GOP hopes of lock in a confirmation schedule by the end of next week remains an uphill battle. Democrats kept the Senate in for 57 straight hours in protest of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, then forced a 2 a.m. Friday vote on Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price. Democrats may press for more all-nighters in protests of Rep. Mick Mulvaney’s nomination to lead the Office of Management and Budget and Scott Pruitt’s selection to lead the EPA.
Ben Carson’s nomination to lead the Housing and Urban Development Department as well as Wilbur Ross’ selection as Commerce secretary could face significant opposition. Democrats may allow speedier votes for Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Mont) to lead the Interior Department. Republicans want to have a plan to finish everyone but Labor Department nominee Andy Puzder ahead of the President’s Day recess, which begins on Feb. 17.
Democrats can force 30 hours of debate and delay on confirmation of each of Trump’s Cabinet picks. They can also require a procedural vote that effectively makes each nomination take several days.
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