Democrats Delay Jeff Sessions' Confirmation After Donald Trump Fires Acting Attorney General

Neil Gorsuch at podium with Trump in background

Neil Gorsuch at podium with Trump in background

Senate Republicans pushed Scott Pruitt's nomination to the Environmental Protection Agency through committee on Thursday, using a procedural maneuver for the third time this week to ignore Democrats and send one of President Trump's Cabinet nominees to the Senate floor.

Chao was approved in a 93-6 floor vote. But several of his other picks faced more spirited opposition from Democrats. The boycott forced the committee's chair, Sen. Even with this blowup, it still does not seem that the Republican Senate, eager to secure this moment of unified government, will do anything to jeopardize Senator Jeff Sessions' confirmation as Attorney General. "I want to take this seriously", said Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa. "He's a man of his word".

On Wednesday, Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee voted to suspend the panel's rules, allowing them to advance the nominations of Steven Mnuchin to run the Treasury Department and Tom Price to head Health and Human Services.

Betsy DeVos, nominated to lead the Education Department, is also facing hurdles.

The Alabama Republican is expected to be confirmed by the full Senate. "We still have not received the relevant documents and the substantive answers we've requested from Mr. Pruitt, " ranking member Tom Carper, Democrat of DE, said in a statement after the vote.

Democrats are being slippery with their language. Sixty votes is not "a standard" for Supreme Court confirmations, as two of the current justices on the court did not meet that supposed standard. "I've never seen a Cabinet this full of bankers and billionaires, folks with massive conflicts of interest and such little experience or expertise in the areas they will oversee".

Hatch, the longest-serving Republican senator, later marveled at having to rush back and forth between three contentious hearings. But Democrats on the committee, starting at 9:30 a.m., spoke at length about their opposition to Sessions and their admiration for former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, who was sacked by Trump late Monday night.

"They're going to vote no".

Democrats have targeted Price, a seven-term congressional veteran, for his staunch backing of his party's drive to scuttle Obama's health care law and to reshape Medicare and Medicaid, which help older and low-income people afford medical care.

"I hope they get beyond the anger they're now feeling", Sen. "Given that Price is a liar and his far-right policy views blatantly contradict Trump's campaign promise", Lawson said, "Democrats are absolutely right to block him by any means necessary".

The Finance panel was also expected to approve Mnuchin to become treasury secretary.

On Mnuchin, Democratic criticism has focused his time as the head of OneWest, a mortgage lender with a record of foreclosing on homes. There is zero doubt they will do it in the future even if Republicans forbear.

Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch had choice words for his colleagues across the aisle, calling their actions "abysmal" and "amazingly stupid". In Supreme Court nominations, that's a rarely used parliamentary tactic that is certainly available to Democrats to establish a threshold for confirmation.

Public Citizen's executive director, Robert Weissman, concurred: "Good for Senate Democrats for taking a stand and speaking honestly about the dishonesty of the Trump nominees".

"He misled Congress and he misled the American people", Wyden said of Price at the press conference.