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. 17, 2017 at 6:23 AM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 17 (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-Mon.
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

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.


Unscheduled/tentative hearings

Trump's seven remaining Cabinet nominees -- two of whom have not yet been named (agriculture, veterans affairs) -- will also receive hearings in the coming days.

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.

U.N. ambassador appointee Nikki Haley is tentatively scheduled for a hearing on Jan. 18. Hearing dates are not yet known for Steve Mnuchin (treasury), Ryan Zinke (interior), Tom Price (health and human services) and Rick Perry (energy).

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

The president-elect predicted Monday that all of his Cabinet appointees will win confirmation.

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