GOP forces Mnuchin, Price vote to Senate floor

Senate Republicans cast aside obstruction from Democrats Wednesday and advanced President Donald Trump’s nominees to head the Treasury Department and the HHS to the Senate floor.

A day after Senate Finance Committee Democrats refused to show up for a vote on Treasury nominee Steven Mnuchin and HHS nominee Rep. Tom Price, Republicans on the committee agreed Wednesday morning to suspend quorum rules that required a member of the minority party to participate in the confirmation vote.

“They have nobody to blame but themselves,” Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said.

No Democrats attended today’s hearing. Separately, Democrats are also boycotting Wednesday’s vote in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Scott Pruitt’s nomination to be administrator of the EPA, sources said.

Price and Mnuchin are likely to be confirmed by the full Senate, thanks to broad Republican support. Republicans have yet to indicate whether they plan to do the same with Pruitt.

Without warning yesterday morning, Democrats refused to participate in a previously scheduled vote on the appointees, amid growing political pressure to fight Trump and his Cabinet.

Democrats said they were boycotting the confirmation proceedings because of concerns that Price and Mnuchin had misled the committee, and that the nominees needed to provide more information.

Republicans slammed Democrats as being obstructionists and downplayed their concerns with the nominees.

Democrats said in a letter to Hatch that they wanted more information on Price’s privileged and discounted access to stocks and answers from Mnuchin on “robo-signing” and foreclosures by the bank he once led, OneWest.

“We have significant concerns that both Mr. Mnuchin and Congressman Price gave inaccurate and misleading testimony and responses to questions to the Committee,” the Democrats said.


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