Right Hooks

Schumer Seeks to Clog the DC Drain

Democrats might slow nomination process for Trump's cabinet picks.

Thomas Gallatin · Jan. 4, 2017

Donald Trump’s impressive cabinet choices have many Democrats so riled they’re planning to attempt everything in their limited power to slow the confirmation process. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has vowed to lead Senate Democrats in an unprecedented manner by seeking to drag out the confirmation hearings of at least eight of Trump’s cabinet nominees to at least March. Schumer stated, “Any attempt by Republicans to have a series of rushed, truncated hearings before Inauguration Day and before the Congress and public have adequate information on all of them is something Democrats will vehemently resist.”

Republicans quickly countered by reminding Democrats of the fact that in 2009 Republicans cooperated with Barack Obama’s cabinet picks, confirming 10 nominees within the first week of his entering office. It’s the long held view of the Senate that an incoming president has the right to pick his own people. Ironically, it was Schumer himself who stated this past November, “We have a moral obligation, even beyond the economy and politics, to avoid gridlock and get the country to work again. We have to get things done.” Except when it comes to Trump’s cabinet, we suppose.

The good news is that thanks to Harry Reid’s instigation of the “nuclear option” in 2013, Democrats have no power to deny confirmation and little recourse to slow the process. They are now having to pay for Reid’s power-hungry decision, leaving Schumer to play the role of the “squeaky wheel” in the hopes of pressuring Republicans to concede some of their demands. However, it appears that Republicans are having none of it. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s spokeswoman, Antonia Ferrier, stated, “Our committees and chairmen are fully capable of reviewing the incoming cabinet nominations with the same rules and procedures as the same committees did with President Obama’s nominations.”

Unfortunately, Schumer is seemingly prepared to play this game with the Supreme Court, too, where the filibuster is still in play. “If they don’t appoint somebody good, we’re going to oppose them tooth and nail,” Schumer said. And we all know what “good” means: “It’s hard for me to imagine a nominee that Donald Trump would choose that would get Republican support that [Democrats] could support.” Are Republicans prepared to fight?

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