Here’s What Happens If Democrats Attempt to Delay Trump’s Cabinet Nominee Confirmations – Independent Journal Review

The Wall Street Journal has reported that Democrats in the Senate want two hearings for each of President-elect Trump’s eight cabinet nominees, and for the hearings to be held on separate weeks.

So, Americans may have to wait until March before they see a full cabinet for President-elect Donald Trump.

The last time a cabinet member was wasn’t confirmed was in 1989, during President George H.W. Bush’s administration. And while that was a result of a loss of the majority vote, the possible Democratic plan is a little more complicated.

Who has Trump nominated for his cabinet?

President-elect Donald Trump is responsible for filling 20 cabinet positions, all of which must be confirmed by the Senate. Eight of those 20 positions are the source of the main tension between Democrats and the incoming administration.

  1. Rex Tillerson – Secretary of State
  2. Senator Jeff Sessions – Attorney General
  3. Representative Mick Mulvaney – Director, Office of Management and Budget
  4. Betsy DeVos – Secretary of Education
  5. Steven Mnuchin – Secretary of the Treasury
  6. Representative Tom Price – Secretary of Health and Human Services
  7. Andrew Puzder – Secretary of Labor
  8. General Scott Pruitt – Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) reportedly told Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) that two of their primary focuses will be on Trump’s picks for secretary of state and attorney general.

Why are critics unhappy with Trump’s choices?

Democrats have largely accused Donald Trump of going back on his word to “drain the swamp.” Critics claim his cabinet nominations are predominately made up of billionaires who seem unqualified for their position. On Sunday, Sen. Schumer said:

“President-elect Trump is attempting to fill his rigged Cabinet with nominees that…have made billions off the industries they’d been tasked with regulating.”

Rex Tillerson is the former chairman and CEO of Exxon Mobil and was allegedly recommended by three Washington insiders who benefitted financially from the company.

Trump’s nomination of Tillerson for secretary of state has been cited as a contradiction of Trump’s campaign promise to get rid of “corrupt” Washington politicians.

On Tuesday, the NAACP staged a sit-in at the Mobile, Alabama, office of Senator Jeff Sessions, due to accusations of racism.

Sessions, who has been nominated for attorney general, has been criticized for his strong stance against a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants and for opposing the validity of climate change.

How can a nomination be blocked?

Since a nominee is confirmed with 51 votes in favor and Republicans hold a 52-to-48 majority in the Senate, it seems unlikely that Democrats will be able to actually block Trump’s nominations. Still, they may be able to delay the process. Sen. Schumer told The Washington Post:

“Any attempt by Republicans to have a series of rushed, truncated hearings before Inauguration Day and before the Congress and public have adequate information on all of them is something Democrats will vehemently resist.”

Democrats have expressed that nominees need to submit all the required background information and financial records with ample time for them to be reviewed. If not, Senator McConnell can hit “pause” on the nomination votes he planned for Inauguration Day.

To delay the confirmation process, Democrats can:

  • Insist on a 2/3 majority vote for each nominee
  • Overwhelm floor time with lengthy speeches
  • Use the entire amount of debate time to delay speedy votes

As a result, each nominee could take up to a week to be confirmed.

How does a confirmation delay affect me?

Some of the duties of the attorney general include:

  • Represent the United States in legal matters, foreign and domestic
  • Supervise and direct the administration and operation of the Department of Justice
  • Give advice and opinions on legal matters to the president, his cabinet and heads of executive departments and government agencies
  • Recommend federal judicial position appointments to the president – including U.S. attorneys and U.S. marshals

Some of the duties of the secretary of state include:

  • Act as the president’s principal adviser on U.S. foreign policy
  • Conduct negotiations relating to U.S. foreign affairs
  • Personally participates in or directs U.S. representatives to international conferences, organizations, and agencies
  • Negotiates, interprets, and terminates treaties and agreements
  • Ensures the protection of the U.S. government to American citizens, property, and interests in foreign countries
  • Informs the Congress and American citizens on the conduct of U.S. foreign relations

Between Inauguration Day and a nominee’s Senate confirmation, the cabinet position is essentially rendered empty. Ross Baker, a politics professor at Rutgers University, said:

“They can be at their desks, but any official acts before confirmation would be open to legal challenge.”

Given the responsibilities of the secretary of state and attorney general, those positions being vacant could possibly mean an interruption to national and international policies.

A dragged-out confirmation process could also delay the implementation of strong, Republican legislation, according to CNN.

Republicans seem to feel slighted by Democrats, after bipartisan cooperation successfully confirmed all of President Barack Obama’s nominations within two weeks.

However, Democrats defend their position on the basis that Obama’s nominees had been vetted by the FBI and the results made known well before the confirmation hearings were scheduled.


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