Full schedule of Cabinet confirmation hearings and what to look for

Two of President-elect Trump's Cabinet nominees -- for agriculture and veterans affairs -- have yet to be named.
By Doug G. Ware   |   Updated Jan. 18, 2017 at 8:14 AM
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Jan. 18 (UPI) -- This week begins the arduous series of confirmation hearings for President-elect Donald Trump's Cabinet nominees, who will either be accepted or rejected for the top posts in the federal government.

The nominations are set to receive their hearings before Trump's inauguration a week from Friday, so they can be put to a vote.

If the appointments gain a simple majority in committee, they are passed on to the full Senate -- with the panels' recommendations for approval or rejection, or no recommend at all. The candidates must then win a simple majority in the Senate to be confirmed.

Tuesday, Jan. 10

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., testifies Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings to be the next U.S. attorney general on Capitol Hill. Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI

Jeff Sessions
Nomination: Attorney General of the United States
Hearing: 9:30 a.m., Senate Judiciary Committee

Fresh off a stint as Alabama senator, Sessions, 70, is up for the top law enforcement position in the country -- a post that runs the Justice Department, determines policy and makes determinations in a vast array of criminal justice matters.

Sessions' nomination is controversial, as critics say he's made racist remarks in the past. He was rejected by a Republican Senate for a federal judgeship in the 1980s due to these allegations.

His hearing is expected to last all day Tuesday and into early Wednesday.


U.S. Homeland Security Secretary nominee Gen. John F. Kelly leaves Trump Tower in New York, on January 3. Pool Photo by Albin Lohr-Jones/UPI

John Kelly
Nomination: Secretary of Homeland Security
Hearing: 3:30 p.m., Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

A former Marine general and leader of U.S. Southern Command, Kelly is up for a post critical to national security matters.

A 46-year veteran, Kelly, 66, is expected to add much-needed experience to Trump's semi-green Cabinet.


Wednesday, Jan. 11

Exxon Mobil CEO and Chairman Rex Tillerson testifies May 12, 2011, before a Senate Finance Committee hearing. File Photo by /Kevin Dietsch/UPI

Rex Tillerson
Nomination: Secretary of State
Hearing: 9 a.m., Senate Foreign Relations Committee

One of Trump's most controversial nominations, Tillerson, 64, brings a wealth of business experience to the top diplomatic post. He served for years as CEO of ExxonMobil and has come under fire for past business dealings with Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin.

"[Russia] is an adversary that we want to know that he's going to be able to represent the United States of America and our interests and not be compromised by his relationship," Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., said.

Tillerson's hearing is also scheduled to span two days.


Transportation Secretary nominee Elaine Chao arrives for a meeting with President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower on November 21 in New York City. File photo by Aude Guerrucci/UPI

Elaine Chao
Nomination: Secretary of Transportation
Hearing: 10:15 a.m., Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation

Chao is the only Trump appointee who has previously worked at the Cabinet level, having served as labor secretary during the presidency of George W. Bush. She served as deputy treasury secretary under George H.W. Bush from 1989 to 1991.

Chao, 63, is also married to GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.


Thursday, Jan. 12

President-elect Donald Trump (L) shakes hands with Gen. James Mattis on November 19 at the clubhouse of Trump International Golf Club in Bedminster Township, N.J. File photo by Aude Guerrucc/UPI

James Mattis
Nomination: Secretary of Defense
Hearing: 9:30 a.m., Senate Armed Services Committee

If confirmed, Mattis would take over for Ashton Carter at the Pentagon. A Marine Corps veteran, the Trump transition team believes Mattis is well-suited to serve as the United States' top civilian military executive.

As former leader of U.S. Central Command, Mattis also brings a wealth of Middle East experience to the role. However, Congress must grant a waiver for Mattis to take the job, as federal law requires a candidate be retired from active military service for seven years prior to an appointment as defense secretary. Mattis, 66, retired in 2013.


Ben Carson, President-elect Trump's nominee for secretary of Housing and Urban Development, arrives at Trump Tower in New York City on December 12. File photo by Albin Lohr-Jones/UPI

Ben Carson
Nomination: Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Hearing: 10 a.m., Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs

One of Trump's better-known Cabinet appointees, Carson sparred with the president-elect for months during the primary season as they battled for the GOP nomination. A neurosurgeon by trade, the 65-year-old Carson initially pledged that he would not serve in Trump's Cabinet, but later relented.

"I grew up in the inner city and have spent a lot of time there, and have dealt with a lot of patients from that area and recognize that we cannot have a strong nation if we have weak inner cities," he said.


U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., attends the Spirit Aerosystems Rollout Ceremony on July 26, 2013. Photo courtesy the office of Rep. Mike Pompeo

Mike Pompeo
Nomination: Director of Central Intelligence
Hearing: 10 a.m., Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

A former member of the House Intelligence Committee, Pompeo will face its Senate counterpart on Wednesday and likely questions of how he plans to run the country's top espionage agency in the present geopolitical landscape. His hearing was initially scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday, but it was delayed until Thursday due to incomplete paperwork.


Tuesday, Jan. 17

Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont, arrives at Trump Tower for a meeting with President-elect Donald Trump in New York City on December 12. Pool photo by Albin Lohr-Jones/UPI

Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont.
Nomination: Secretary of Interior
Hearing: 2:15 p.m., Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee

Starting his second term in the House of Representatives, Zinke began his career in politics with a two-year stint in Montana's Senate. Prior to that, he touted his 23-year service as a Navy SEAL, from which he retired with the rank of commander.

Zinke has shown support for increased drilling activity and mining on public lands. He also believes climate change isn't proven science.


President-elect Donald Trump (C) and Vice President-elect Mike Pence (R) meet with Betsy DeVos on November 19 at the clubhouse of Trump International Golf Club in Bedminster Township, N.J. File photo by Aude Guerrucc/UPI

Betsy DeVos
Nomination: Secretary of Education
Hearing: 5 p.m., Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee

A big-time Republican donor in Michigan before joining Trump's team, DeVos, 59, is an advocate of a national school voucher program -- a controversial program that would allow parents to place their children in public or private schools. Her hearing was initially scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday, but it was delayed until Jan. 17.


Wednesday, Jan. 18

Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI

Nikki Haley
Nomination: U.N. Ambassador
Hearing: 10 a.m., Senate Foreign Relations Committee

If confirmed, the South Carolina governor would rep represent the Trump administration in the United Nations. She is serving her second term as governor and has traveled internationally to negotiate global economic deals in recent years.


Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt arrives arrives at Trump Tower in New York City on December 7. File photo by John Taggart/UPI

Scott Pruitt
Nomination: Environmental Protection Agency Administrator
Hearing: 10 a.m., Senate Environment and Public Works Committee

As Oklahoma attorney general, the 48-year-old joined other states in suing the Obama administration for its policy to reduce greenhouse emissions at power plants. Pruitt has said climate change is "far from settled."


Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., President-Elect Donald Trump's nominee to be health and human service secretary, attends a meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on December 8. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI

Tom Price
Nomination: Health and Human Services Secretary
Hearing: 10 a.m., Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee

Should he be confirmed, the six-term Republican congressman from Georgia, who staunchly opposes the Affordable Care Act, would be responsible for Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, the FDA and various federal medical research agencies.

Among the ACA provisions Price has been most critical of is the requirement that insurance plans cover the cost of contraception, which he has opposed federal funding for but voted in favor of while a member of the Georgia state legislature. The difference, he said in 2012, is that the state was making the decision, rather than the federal government.


President-elect Trump's nominee for secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, arrives at Trump Tower in New York City on December 15. File Photo by Albin Lohr-Jones/UPI

Wilbur Ross
Nomination: Secretary of Commerce
Hearing: 10 a.m., Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

A fellow billionaire like Trump and DeVos, Ross possesses plenty of business experience for a post in which he is expected to dictate U.S. trade policy.

Ross, at 79, is the eldest of Trump's Cabinet nominees and has an estimated net worth of nearly $3 billion.


Thursday, Jan. 19

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry walks through the lobby of Trump Tower in New York City following his meeting with President-elect Donald Trump on December 12. Pool photo by Albin Lohr-Jones/UPI

Rick Perry
Nomination: Energy Secretary
Hearing: 10 a.m., Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources

The former Texas governor's selection for the Energy Department is a slightly unusual one.

As a 2012 Republican presidential candidate, Perry said he favored the abolition of the very Cabinet department he could lead. He was also sharply critical of Trump, calling him a "barking carnival act" as a fellow candidate for the 2016 presidential election.

Since his nomination, Perry has resigned from his role on the board of Energy Transfer Partners, the parent company of the Dakota Access Pipeline, in order to avoid the appearance of conflict of interest.


U.S. Treasury Department Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin is seen leaving an elevator in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York City on January. Pool Photo by Albin Lohr-Jones / UPI

Steven Mnuchin
Nomination: Treasury Secretary
Hearing: 10 a.m., Senate Finance Committee

Mnuchin, 53, worked for nearly 20 years at finance house Goldman Sachs before leaving the banking industry and moving west to enter a new career as a film financier. He went on to found RatPac-Dune Entertainment and produce big-budget films like Avatar (2009) and the X-Men film franchise.

Though Mnuchin has years of finance experience, he has no government experience. He served as the Trump campaign's finance chair for the past six months.


Unscheduled/tentative hearings

Labor nominee Andrew Puzder was tentatively scheduled to appear before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Jan. 17, but Chairman Lamar Alexander said it could be delayed until February because of January's complicated calendar.

Hearing dates are not yet known for Andy Puzder (labor secretary), Dan Coats (director of national intelligence), Robert Lighthizer (U.S. trade representative nominee), Linda McMahon (Small Business Administration), Mick Mulvaney (Office of Management and Budget director) and David Shulkin (Veterans Affairs).

Trump's chief of staff, Reince Priebus, and controversial White House counsel appointee Steve Bannon do not require Senate confirmation.

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