GOP pushes through Sessions, Mnuchin, Price Cabinet nominations

By Andrew V. Pestano  |  Feb. 1, 2017 at 10:37 AM
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Feb. 1 (UPI) -- Republican Senate committees on Wednesday approved three of President Donald Trump's Cabinet nominees -- two of whom were confirmed despite a boycott by Democrats.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 14-9 along party lines to confirm the nomination of Jeff Sessions as attorney general. A full Senate vote on Sessions could occur as early as next week.

Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee approved the nomination of Steven Mnuchin to become Secretary of the Treasury and Georgia Rep. Tom Price to become secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. The committee's actions will send the process to the Senate, which will vote in full on whether to confirm the nominees.

After Democrats boycotted the Senate Finance Committee meeting for a second day, Republicans on Wednesday changed a rule requiring at least one Democrat be present for the panel to hold a valid vote to send the nomination process to the Senate floor.

Chairman Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, said the decision was carried out under "extraordinary circumstances" and was approved by the Senate parliamentarian.

The 14 Republicans on the committee voted to advance the nominations of Mnuchin and Price to the full Senate.

"They on their own accord refused to participate in the exercise," Hatch said of the absentee Democrats on the committee. "They have nobody to blame but themselves."

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., on Twitter said his "friends on the left have decided political stunts are more important than showing up for work."

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