Wednesday the Senate Finance Committee waited for the opposition party to show up in order to more forward with a vote on two of the President’s cabinet picks. The opposition party, the Democrats, waited for an answer to questions they had about the nominees. By mid-morning, not one Democrat had showed up for the vote and a letter they sent was left unanswered. Republicans suspended the committee rules and pushed the two nominees through.
Steve Mnuchin, Trump’s nominee for Treasury Secretary and Tom Price, the nominee to head of the Department of Health and Human Services will now advance to a full Senate vote. With Republicans holding a 52-48 edge, they should easily be able to confirm both nominees.
Under the committee rules, it is required that at least one member of the Democratic Party be present for a vote, but when none of the Democrats arrived at the meeting for the second day in a row, the rules were suspended after approval of the Parliamentarian. Sen. Orrin Hatch, (R-Utah) called the circumstances “extraordinary and 14 Republican members voted to approve the nominee.
Before the vote, Democrats sent a letter to Hatch requesting that the two nominees provide more information about past investments and actions, but the letter was ignored and Republicans moved forward.
The ranking Democrat on the committee, Sen. Ron Wyden called the Republican’s actions troubling.
“Today, for the first time in history, the Senate Finance Committee broke the rules to push through, on a partisan basis, two nominees,” Wyden said.
Mnuchin, who appears to have misled the committee about illegal home foreclosure practices, as reported by CNN, and Price who Democrats say provided misleading information about privileged and discounted access to stocks, will move forward to a full Senate vote, despite dodging and misleading the committee.