Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Senate committees approved three of Donald Trump's Cabinet selections Tuesday -- Housing and Urban Development, transportation, and commerce but delayed a vote on the pick for attorney general.
The approvals move to the full Senate where a simple majority is needed for confirmation. With the Republicans controlling the Senate with 52 votes, that means every Democrat can reject a nomination and it would still pass. And Democrats cannot filibuster with the nominations.
Two nominations were first confirmed Friday -- a pair of 66-year-old former generals: James Mattis as defense secretary and John F. Kelly as secretary of homeland security. On Monday, the Senate confirmed U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo, 53, of Kansas, as CIA director.
The Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee approved Dr. Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon and former Republican candidate for president. The senators questioned him for one-and-a-half hours.
Carson, 65, said there was a connection between housing issues and health issues, which made him qualified to lead HUD.
The agency manages a $1.6 trillion mortgage portfolio and oversees the majority of the United States' affordable housing programs. It also plays a role in education, transportation and community redevelopment.
"I will manage things in a way that benefits the American people," Carson said in response to a question from Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass, whether Trump's businesses, particularly real estate, could benefit from HUD decisions.
Ross, 79, served as as an economic adviser to Trump during the campaign and made a fortune rehabilitating U.S. steel companies.
Ross said the North American Free Trade Agreement must be "dealt with."
"I am not anti-trade. I am pro-trade," he said. "But I am pro-sensible trade, not pro-trade that is to the disadvantage of the American worker and the American manufacturing community."
Chao, the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, served as deputy secretary of transportation from 1989-91 under President George H.W. Bush and then as labor secretary for President George W. Bush's entire eight years in office.
"The Department of Transportation has a key role to play in modernizing our transportation systems, strengthening our country's competitiveness, and improving our quality of life," Chao, 63, said in her opening statement.
Trump has proposed spending $1 trillion to upgrade roads, ports, bridges, public transportation and other transit systems.
"As we have done for most nominees...I'm asking that the vote for Senator Sessions be held over until next week," Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the committee said Tuesday.
The committee was scheduled to vote Tuesday. Under committee rules, any legislator can ask that a nomination be held over for a week if it's on the agenda for the first time. Feinstein said senators and staff need more time to review nearly 190 pages of response to questions returned Sunday by Sessions. 70.
He has been questioned about his past views on racial matters.
"Sen. Sessions has not demonstrated a commitment to a central requisite of the job, to aggressively pursue the congressional mandate of civil rights, equal rights and justice for all of our citizens," Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., said during the hearing. "In fact, at numerous times in his career he has demonstrated a hostility towards these convictions."